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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Sharpnose Sevengill Shark Heptranchias perlo

The sharpnose sevengill shark, as its name suggests, has a sharply pointed snout and is one of only two shark species that have seven gill slits—more than any other living shark species. It lives in deep water and hunts squid, crustaceans, and fish near the seabed. Like the sixgill sharks, it has comblike teeth. Young fish have black markings, which fade with age, on the tip of the single dorsal fin and on the upper part of the tail. Females are ovoviviparous and give birth to 6–20 young at one time. The sharpnose sevengill shark is rarely seen alive and little is known of its feeding and breeding behavior, but it is lively and aggressive on the rare occasions when it is captured. It is occasionally caught up as by-catch in trawl nets, and this may be contributing to a reduction in its numbers. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of endangered species.

Sharpnose Sevengill Shark habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Hexanchiformes
  • Length Up to 4 ft (1.4 m)
  • Weight Not recorded
  • Depth Up to 3,300 ft (1,000 m), typically 90–2,360 ft (27–720 m)
  • Distribution Tropical and temperate waters worldwide, except northeastern Pacific