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Facts About The Frilled Shark

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The frilled shark is an extant species of shark believed to have been extinct a long time ago.

The frilled shark is perhaps one of the oddest marine creatures on the planet, such that initially thought to have long been extinct, it was only discovered in the 19th century in Japanese waters, observed to have been deprived of the process of evolution since prehistoric times, and that it features a skull resembling that of a lizard, on both sides of its neck six distinctive pairs of gill slits with frilled edges, after which the frilled shark was named.

the frilled shark

The frilled shark

Two large fins are manifested on the anterior end, accompanied by a dorsal and a caudal fin with a lower lobe as observed on the posterior end of its long serpentine body, thus leading scientists to assume that the frilled shark may account for the number of sea serpent sightings reported throughout the years, though this is highly unlikely, considering the shark rarely surfaces, and that it can only grow to around 2 m in body length. The frilled shark’s mouth contains an odd 25 rows of 300 teeth trident-like teeth.

frilled shark teeth

The frilled shark's teeth

Though its population is spread throughout known waters of the planet, the frilled shark is mostly found in Japanese waters, around depths ranging from 120 m to 1500 m. It swims in a peculiar fashion that was initially assumed to resemble that of an eel when taking into account the frilled shark’s serpentine body, though this was later rendered inaccurate on the grounds that the creature contains within its body a liver that produces certain low-density chemical substances facilitating buoyancy while in water and that its dorsal and caudal fins are manifested on the frilled shark’s posterior end. From this, scientists can only speculate that the frilled shark may have hovered in mid-water in wait of prey, which it would then set upon by propelling itself toward it in much the same way snakes would with its posterior dorsal and caudal fin arrangement.

Its diet consists mainly of squids, certain smaller species of sharks and deep sea fishes, though how it feeds on them is still a mystery.

One intriguing aspect of the frilled shark is its oviparous manner of reproduction. It is noted to breed throughout the year, giving birth to on average 6 pups in a litter, each measuring approximately 22 inches long. To carry out sperm transfer, a male frilled shark would have to insert one clasper (the sexual organ of all male sharks) into the body of the opposite sex. Its gestation period (how long an average female frilled shark could contain in its body its developing offspring) is measured to be around 42 months, twice that of an African elephant, and is now considered the longest among all vertebrates.


Phoenix Montoya
Posted on Feb 8, 2011
lisa leverton
Posted on Feb 8, 2011

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