The frilled shark, is one of several species of primitive shark, The Southern African frilled shark is a proposed new species from the Southern African range.
These two species are very different from other sharks, and it was proposed that the two frilled sharks should be given their own order. The frilled was thought to be extinct itself, it was only discovered in Japanese waters in the 19th century.
The rarely seen Frilled Shark
Last year, in 2007 a specimen, found alive was captured but was in poor health and died not long afterward in the Awashima Marine park in Japan.
The frilled shark looks a lot like an eel, either dark brown or grey, but has the six gill slits that let us know it is in fact a shark.
The tissue of the gills protrudes, which is what gives the frilled shark its name.
The teeth are small, shaped triangularly and are razor sharp. The Frilled shark has been recorded to be up to about 6 feet in length.
They can be found worldwide, but only very rarely are found in shallows.
They have been reported as prolific in nearly all oceans but usually near Norway, South Africa, New Zealand and Chile.
The frilled shark eats squid, other shark and deep water fish, particularly bony ones.
The frilled shark is very often referred to as a living fossil because it has changed only minimally since it was first recorded as a fossil in prehistoric times.
The reproduction of the Frilled shark is not known well, but they do, like most other sharks bear their young live and are pregnant for an extended period of time, about 1 to 2 years.
According to the staff at Awashima Marine Park in Shizuoka, southwest of Tokyo, they were alerted by fishermen to a ‘strange eel-like fish with razor sharp teeth inm 2007’.
The fish was identified as a female 1.6 m frilled shark and was captured by park staff who were concerned that the shark appeared to be unhealthy.
They took it out of the water and put it into a salt water tank where they filmed it and took pictures of it.
The shark died a few hours after capture. This rare surface appearance of a frilled shark has been attributed to the animal being unwell and possibly disoriented.
Frilled sharks appear regularly in the catches from bottom trawling, and when caught are used as food or for fish meal.
They don’t appear to be endangered in spite of their rarely being seen.