The Frill Shark has a long slender eel-like body and a large mouth. It lives in continental slope waters where it feeds in caves and crevices.
What do Frill Sharks look like?
3D interactive model of a Frill Shark
The Frill Shark can be recognised by its slender eel-like body, six pairs of gill slits, terminal mouth, three-pronged teeth, single dorsal fin, caudal fin without a lower lobe, and brown colour.
The jaws can be opened very wide. Little effort was required to open the mouth wide enough to take the photographs of the upper and lower jaws on this page.
The Frill Shark's teeth at the margins of the jaw are gradually replaced by those behind. The teeth have three long cusps with a tiny cusplet at the base of each "V" formed by the the large cusps.
Chlamydoselachus anguineus is the only living species in the Family Chlamydoselachidae found in Australia. A second species in this family was described in 2009 found off the coast of South Africa Chlamydoselachus africana.
Where do Frill Sharks live?
Very patchily distributed in Atlantic and Pacific oceanic waters at depths from 120 m to 1500 m, but more typically from 500-1000 m. They are very rare and found near off shore shelves and upper continental slopes
In Australia, the species has been caught from off New South Wales ,Tasmania and in the Tasman Sea. They are occasionally caught as bycatch.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
How do Frill Sharks mate and what do they eat?
During mating, one clasper is inserted into the body of the female Frill Shark to facilitate sperm transfer. Frill Sharks are approximately 39-60cm when born in litters of 2-15 pups.
The young are developed from eggs that hatch inside the female (ovovivparious) after a gestation period of over 1 year. Males mature at about 92-163cm TL while females mature at 130-135cmTL, they grow to approximately 196cm TL.
Sharks online publication
Delve into the world of Sharks and explore the digital publication with videos and extra content from the exhibition. Hear from First Nations peoples, scientists and conservationists as they share their stories about these ancient survivors.Explore now
Feeding and diet
According to Last and Stevens (1994), the few stomach contents that have been examined included other elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) and squid. The species has been reported to feed in caves and crevices on the continental slope.
- Ebert, D.A., Fowler, S., Compagno, L., 2016. Sharks of the World, Wild Nature Press, pages 1-528
- Bray, D.J. 2017, Chlamydoselachus anguineus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 05 Aug 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3419
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513, Pl. 1-84.
- Stevens, J. & P.R. Last in Paxton, J.R. & W.N. Eschmeyer (Eds). 1994. Encyclopedia of Fishes. Sydney: New South Wales University Press. Pp. 240.