Frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



This eel-like shark is characterized by frilled edges along its body. The maximum total length is 197 cm including a large anal fin and single dorsal fin. The head is large and flattened with a large, terminal, mouth. It is deep brown in colour. This species has six, large, gill slits with the first pair joining under the throat. Its teeth are ‘needle-sharp’ and have three sharp points (tricuspid teeth) used for holding onto slippery prey.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Scattered offshore records to the northwest of the British Isles in the eastern Atlantic.

Global distribution

It has a widespread but patchy distribution. In the eastern Atlantic, it is recorded from the north of Britain and Norway to Namibia. Records in the Indian Ocean as well as the western and eastern Pacific, New Zealand, USA (west coast) and northern Chile.


Commonly found on continental shelves, near to large islands. Its habitat can range from 100 – 1500 m but the majority are usually found at 500 – 1000 m. There have been occasional sightings and catches at the surface. The species is demersal (near the bottom) or benthopelagic (near the bottom and midwater). It has also been found in the water column.

Depth range

100-1500 m

Identifying features

  • It has six, large, gill slits
  • The maximum total length is 197 cm
  • The teeth are needle sharp and tricuspid
  • Its head is large, flatten and snake-like
  • Its body is characterized with frilled edges

Additional information

The majority of elasmobranchs have only five gill slits whilst the hexanchiformes (including this species) have six or seven. The diet of the frilled shark consists of; deepwater squid, a variety of fish and other sharks. This is an ovoviviparous species (live birth) with 6-13 pups per litter. Status has changed from ‘near threatened’ to ‘least concern’ (ICUN, 2016) and it is a by catch species.

Listed by


  1. Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsies, 125, 1-249

  2. Shark Trust, 2010. An Illustrated Compendium of Sharks, Skates, Rays and Chimaera. Chapter 1: The British Isles and Northeast Atlantic. Part 2: [Citation 06-07-2018]. Available from

  3. Smart, J.J., Paul, L.J. & Fowler, S.L. 2016. Chlamydoselachus anguineus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. Avaliable from:


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-06-12


This review can be cited as:

Gibson-Hall, E., 2018. Chlamydoselachus anguineus Frilled shark. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 12-06-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 23/08/2018