All About Frilled Shark: The Snake-Like Shark

Photo: 3dsam79 via Getty Images

One of the most interesting and unique creatures of the deep sea is the frilled shark. 

This amazing animal is often called a "living fossil," as it has remained unchanged for over 80 million years. 

Although they are not often seen, frilled sharks can be found in waters worldwide down to a depth of 2,500 feet.

In this article, we will look at this amazing creature and find out what makes it so special. We'll look at everything from description and appearance, diet, reproduction, habitat, etc.

Description and Appearance

Photo: 3dsam79 via Getty Images

Chlamydoselachus anguineus, more commonly known as the frilled shark, is a species of primitive shark that was discovered in the 19th century. 

The frilled shark gets its name from the six pairs of gill slits that run along with its head, giving it a "frilled" appearance. 

This unique feature is not seen in any other sharks, making the frilled shark easy to identify. 

The body of the frilled shark is typically lengthy and slender, with a pointed snout and large eyes. The skin is covered in small, tooth-like scales, and the dorsal and pectoral fins are elongated.

Frilled sharks typically grow to be about 1.5-1.8 meters (5-6 feet) in length, although larger specimens have been recorded. Females are bigger than males.

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The frilled shark is a predatory creature, and its diet consists primarily of squid, fish, and other small sharks. 

To capture its prey, the frilled shark uses its long, flexible body to coil around it and then quickly uncoils, driving its sharp teeth into the hapless animal. 

This hunting technique is similar to how a snake strikes its prey.

They are also known to have a fast digestion rate. 

Although they eat different species, squids form 60% of their diet.


Very little is known about the reproduction of frilled sharks, as they are seldom seen or captured by humans.

The gestation period of frilled sharks is around 3.5 years, making it one of the longest gestation periods of any known creature. 

A study in Japan showed that Frilled sharks breed all year round, with a peak in the late spring and early summer. 

They are aplacental viviparous, meaning that the embryos develop inside eggs that are retained within the mother's body until they hatch. 

The young are born at about 16-24 inches, and they are fully formed and ready to fend for themselves. These pups feed on yolk before birth and begin to hunt soon after.

Distribution & Habitat

Frilled sharks are found in all the world's oceans, typically in deep water (down to 390 to 4200 feet). 

They have been spotted in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. 

They are most commonly found in the waters off the eastern coast of Australia. 

They are rare since they live at low depths below the surface. 

The frilled shark is a bottom-dweller and is often found near the seafloor in rocky or sandy areas. 

On the Blake Plateau off the southeastern United States, the first sighting of this species in its natural environment was recorded by the ROV Johnson-Sea-Link II on August 27, 2004.


The Frilled shark is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List. 

This means that the species is not currently threatened with extinction but maybe in the future if certain factors continue to occur. 

The major threats to the frilled shark are commercial fishing and oceanic pollution. 

Due to its rarity, the frilled shark is not a target of commercial fisheries. However, accidental catches do occur, which may pose a threat to the species. 

Additionally, ocean pollution can harm the frilled shark's habitat and food supply. 

Overall, the frilled shark is a fascinating and unique creature. It is one of the oldest sharks and has remained largely unchanged for millions of years. 

Although it is not often seen, one can find this amazing animal in waters worldwide. 

Hopefully, with further research and conservation efforts, we can ensure that the frilled shark will continue to thrive for many years to come.

Other Interesting Facts

Some of the interesting facts about Frilled Sharks is that they have 300 teeth in 25 rows. And they are one of the only two species of sharks with a spiral valve in their intestine, which is more commonly found in mammals. 

It does not pose any threat to humans because it is found in deep waters; however, it would attack if a human were to enter its territory.

They are believed to be hunters, and they can strike prey like a snake would do.

The frilled shark was first discovered in the 19th century. 

Many people mistake it for an eel because of its long slender body. 

They are called the "living fossil" because they have not changed much in 80 million years. 

They are one of the oldest species of sharks in the world.

One was once captured in Japan in 2007 that was 2 meters long and weighed 40 kg.

The IUCN red list has classified it as "Near Threatened" because it is difficult to study, and not much is known about it. 

Fisheries do not target this species, but they are often caught as bycatch.

It's a bottom-dweller that

Final thoughts

The frilled shark is an interesting creature that has survived for millions of years. Despite its strange looks, it is a very efficient predator and should not be underestimated. 

With further research, we may be able to learn more about this unique animal and ensure that it continues to thrive in the years to come.

Thank you for reading!



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