Guide to Shark Identification

Order Hexanchiformes —
Cow & Frilled Sharks

The cow and frilled sharks are generally deep-sea inhabitants.  One species, the Broadnose Sevengill Shark (Notorynchus cepedianus) typically inhabits shallow coastal waters, but is only rarely encountered by divers.  All hexanchoids share the following characteristics:

Family Hexanchidae — Cow Sharks

Since only one species of cow shark is encountered by divers on a regular basis, for our purposes here, characteristics of the family Hexanchidae can be considered the same as those for the hexanchoid order.

Bluntnose Sixgill Shark (Hexanchus griseus)

What to Look For:

Size:  average length 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.7 metres); maximum 16 feet (4.8 metres)

Habitat:  Intertidal, Rocky Reefs, Coral Reefs (one report), Deep Sea

Distribution:  Arctic, Central Pacific, Temperate Eastern Pacific, Tropical Eastern Pacific, Chilean, South Atlantic, Argentinean, Amazonian, Caribbean, Western North Atlantic, Eastern North Atlantic/Mediterranean, West African, Southern African, Madagascaran, Southeast Asian, Western Australian, Northern Australian, Japanese

Ecological profile of Bluntnose Sixgill Shark


ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research
Text and illustrations © R. Aidan Martin
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