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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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Author: (Bonnaterre, 1788)

Field Marks:
A narrow-headed, big-eyed, small seven-gilled shark with one dorsal fin.

Diagnostic Features:
Head narrow and pointed, with 7 pairs of gill slits; eyes very large; mouth very narrow and parabolic; large lower comblike teeth long and low, with a few short mesial cusplets, an abruptly high cusp, and up to 7 or 8 distal cusplets in adults. Caudal peduncle long, distance from dorsal fin insertion toupper caudal origin over twice length of dorsal fin base. Colour: spots absent from body, dorsal fin and upper caudal lobe with black tips, faded or absent in adults but prominent in young.

Geographical Distribution:
Wideranging in tropical and temperate seas; Western Atlantic: North Carolina, USA to Cuba and northern Gulf of Mexico, also southern Brazil and Argentina. Eastern Atlantic: From Morocco to Angola, also Mediterranean Sea. Indian Ocean: South Africa, southern Mozambique, Aldabra Island, southwestern India. Western Pacific: Japan (southeastern Honshu) and southern Sea of Japan to China, also Indonesia (Bali), Australia (New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia) and New Zealand. Eastern Pacific: off northern Chile.

Habitat and Biology:
Marine and benthic, on the continental and insular shelves and upper slopes; depth usually between 27 to 720 m, but sometimes in shallower water close inshore and down to 1000 m.

A primarily deepwater species, probably strong-swimming. Ovoviviparous, number of young 9 to 20 in a litter. Feeds on bony fishes, including hake, and squid. Very active and aggressive when captured and quick to bite, but too small to be very dangerous to people.

Size:
Maximum total length about 137 cm, size at birth about 26 cm, size at maturity about 85 cm, for males and 89 to 93 cm for females; said to reach 214 cm, but possibly in error.

Interest to Fisheries:
Generally caught in some numbers as a byeatch of fisheries utilizing bottom trawls and longlines, but of small importance.

Remarks:
This species was recently discovered off Quilon, southwestern India (Compagno and Talwar, 1982, in press), and off Bali, Indonesia (T. Gloerfelt-Tarp, pers.comm.).

Type material:
Holotype: Unknown. Type Locality: Mediterranean Sea.

Sharpnose sevengill shark (Heptranchias perlo)