Frill Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus Click to enlarge image
This Frill Shark specimen was collected at a depth of 400m off Eden, New South Wales in November 1998. It was sent to the Australian Museum by the Fisheries Inspectors at the office in Eden. The specimen is now in the Australian Museum Fish Collection (registration number AMS I.39050-001). Image: Carl Bento
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
  • Size Range
    The species grows to a maximum length of about 2 m.


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.


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.


It occurs in oceanic waters at depths from 120 m to 1500 m.


In Australia, the species has been caught from off New South Wales and Tasmania.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Feeding and diet

According to Last and Stevens (1994), the few stomach contents that have been examined included other elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). The species has been reported to feed in caves and crevices on the continental slope.

Frill Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus

A Frill Shark collected at a depth of 400m, off Eden, New South Wales in November 1998. It was sent to the Australian Museum by Fisheries Inspectors at the Eden office. The specimen is now in the Australian Museum Fish Collection (AMS I.39050-001).

Image: Carl Bento
© Australian Museum

Breeding behaviours

During mating, one clasper is inserted into the body of the female Frill Shark to facilitate sperm transfer.


  1. 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.
  2. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513, Pl. 1-84.
  3. 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.