Frill Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus Garman 1884

Other Names: Frilled Shark, Frill-gill Shark, Frill-gilled Shark, Lizard Shark, Scaffold Shark

A Frill Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus, from a seamount on the Louisville Ridge, northeast of the Chatham Rise, January 1996, NMNZ P.033463. Source: Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives

A primitive eel-like deepwater shark with a single low dorsal fin positioned far back on the body, six 'frilled' gill slits, a large mouth with groups of small sharp inward pointing teeth and no lower lobe on the long caudal fin. Frill Sharks are dark brown to greyish in colour, often with a paler underside.
Video of a Frill Shark swimming
VIDEO of a Frill Shark swimming just above the bottom in 950 metres off South Carolina (USA).
VIDEO of a female Frill Shark caught off Awashima Port in Shizuoka, southwest of Tokyo. The shark was transferred to the Awashima Marine Park, but only lived for a few hours.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Chlamydoselachus anguineus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024,

Frill Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus Garman 1884

More Info


Benthopelagic on the continental slope in Australia, from off Sydney (New South Wales) to off southern and western Tasmania in depths of 200-1200 metres. Also on rises and ridges in the Tasman Sea, including the Lord Howe Rise.

Elsewhere, the species is patchily distributed in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, occurring on the outer continental and insular shelves, and upper continental slopes. The Frill Shark occurs as depths of 20-1500 m, typically at 500-1,000 m.


Vertebrae: 146-171. Body eel-like with 6 gill slits, the lower ends of the first gill slits connected to each other across throat; mouth terminal with narrow tricuspid teeth in jaws. Dorsal fin single, small, lobe-like, originating far back on body; anal fin larger than dorsal fin; pectoral fins small, paddle-shaped; caudal fin with a weak ventral lobe and no subterminal notch.


Females may grow to a total length (TL) of almost 2 metres.


Dark chocolate brown above, similar or slightly paler below.


Feeds mostly on other deep-water sharks, bony fishes and deepwater squid. With its large mouth, the species can consume relatively large prey.


Little is known of the biology of this rare deep-water shark. Size at maturity is estimated at 92–163 cm TL for males, and 130–135 cm TL for females. Reproduction is aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous) with the young developing from eggs and hatching inside the uterus - where they are nourished by large uterine eggs. Females produce 2-15 pups per litter, born at 39-60 cm TL. Frill Sharks are thought to have a gestation period of more than one year.


Although not targeted, the Frill Shark is occasionally taken as bycatch in deep-water commercial fisheries.


  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern

Similar Species

Species Citation

Chlamydoselachus anguineus Garman 1884, Bulletin of the Essex Institute 16: 447, figs. Type locality: Sea of Sagami, Japan.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Frill Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus Garman 1884


  • Barnett, A., Braccini, J.M., Awruch, C.A. & Ebert, D.A. 2012. An overview on the role of Hexanchiformes in marine ecosystems: biology, ecology and conservation status of a primitive order of modern shark. Journal of Fish Biology 80: 966–990.
  • Bass, A.J. 1979. Records of little-known sharks from Australian waters. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 103(4): 247-254 figs 1-5 [1978]
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  • Ebert, D.A. & Compagno, L.J.V. 2009. Chlamydoselachus africana, a new species of frilled shark from southern Africa (Chondrichthyes, Hexanchiiformes, Chlamydoselachidae). Zootaxa 2173: 1-18.
  • Garman, S. 1884. An extraordinary shark. Bulletin of the Essex Institute 16: 47-55 1 fig. Pdf at BHL
  • Gudger, E.W. & Smith, B.G. 1933. The natural history of the frilled shark Chlamydoselachus anguineus (pp. 245–319). In: E.W. Gudger (ed.). Bashford Dean Memorial Volume on Archaic Fishes. American Museum of Natural History, New York.
  • IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group. Specialist Group website. Available at:
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  • Kukueva, E.I. & Pavlov, P.V. 2008. The first case of mass catch of a rare Frill Shark Chlamydoselachus anguineus over a seamount of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Journal of Ichthyology 48(8): 676–678.
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  • White, W. 2008. Shark Families Heterodontidae to Pristiophoridae. pp. 32-100 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37006001

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:20-1500m (usually 500-1000m)

Habitat:Deep-sea benthopelagic

Max Size:196 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map