African Frilled Shark

About the African Frilled Shark

The African frilled shark is a rare deep sea shark with a long snake-like body and a broad, flattened head. They are dark grey in colour, but are covered with a thin membrane that makes them seem brown.

They occur between 300 to 1400 m deep underwater in the Southeastern Atlantic Ocean from Angola to Namibia.

Biology and Behaviour

African frilled sharks are very similar to frilled sharks, but are smaller and have different body proportions. African frilled sharks have a blunt snout and sizeable mouth with 30 rows of needle-like teeth in the upper jaw and 27 rows of teeth in the lower jaw. They have six pairs of long gill slits with the first gill over its throat and the sixth just behind the pectoral fins.

African frilled sharks feed mainly on smaller sharks such as the African saw-tail catshark. Its jaws and abdomen can expand large enough that they can capture and swallow whole a prey.  

Reproduction and Lifespan

African frilled sharks are ovoviviparous. Eggs hatch inside the female and then they are released. Males mature to a maximum length of 99 cm while females grow a bit longer to 117 cm.

Conservation and Tourism

Since there is little known about the African frilled shark, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has not evaluated its conservation status, therefore they are listed as data deficient.

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Scientific NameChlamydoselachus africana
OrderCow and Frilled Sharks - Hexanchiformes
CitesNot Listed
IUCNData Deficient
Litter Size1
Common Length117 cm
Max LenghtNA
Depth Range300 - 1400 m
DistributionSoutheast Atlantic, Western Indian Ocean
EnvironmentBenthopelagic, Marine