How Many Frilled Sharks Are Left?

Frilled sharks! Have you ever heard about them? Frilled sharks are one of the most ancient species among the shark kingdom! Although they have been living on the planet since the time of dinosaurs, not much is known about them. They were rarely observed and had never been documented because they live in the darkest depth of the ocean. Many people do not even know about their name or existence because they live far away from humans so it’s very challenging to know the exact number of frilled sharks.

However, some studies depicted that only 2 species of frilled sharks have been seen in the ocean. Frilled sharks are the most splendid sharks and we are extremely prosperous to share more about them with you but before going into the details, let us first introduce frilled sharks to you! 

Who are Frilled Sharks?

The frilled sharks are known as living fossils because their fossil records have been dated back to 300 million years ago. This species of sharks look like an eel with a dark brown or grayish in color, the average length of the analyzed specimen shows that they can grow to a length of 2 meters or 6.6 feet. They are the only members of the family Chlamydoselachidae. They are called frilled sharks because they bears 6 pairs of gills slits that looks like frills around their throat and have dorsal fins instead of anal and pelvic fins. According to an estimate, their average life expectancy is 25 years.

When were they First Discovered?

The frilled sharks were first discovered by a German ichthyologist Ludwig Doderlein from 1879 to 1881. However, the manuscript of his work was lost, later on, the description about frilled sharks was presented by an American zoologist Samuel Garman in his book entitled “An Extraordinary Shark” in 1884.

What Habitat do They Share?

You are definitely excited to know where you will encounter this mysterious creature! Well, in order to see them in the wild, you will probably have to visit the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, South East Asia, Australia, West Africa, New Zealand, Caribbean and Chile. You might get a chance to meet them but not sure about it! If you are that one lucky person to spot frilled sharks, do not fear or remove them from water as they are not devils like eels or monsters like other sharks.

This was a brief introduction to frilled sharks, let’s find out about how many species of frilled sharks exist till date.

How many species of frilled sharks have been reported?

According to some reports, the only two species of frilled sharks have been reported till date. Chlamydoselachus anguineus was reported first in 1879 whereas the other species of frilled shark Chlamydoselachus africana has recently been seen in 2009 in South Africa, Southern Angola and Namibia.

How many frilled sharks are left?

Well, it’s quite difficult to know the exact number of frilled sharks because they live deep in the ocean about 4,000 feet or even more under the surface of water. However, data suggests that only one out of the two species of Chlamydoselachus anguineus is left living in the ocean.

As frilled sharks mostly reside at the floor of the ocean, they have to face some difficulties as well, due to freezing temperature at the bottom of the ocean, they have a very slow metabolic rate, their body thus adapts to the cold environment and if they are kept in the artificial environment, they may die! .

Are frilled sharks extinct?

No! They are not extinct but are near to vanishing, because no conservation plan for these species has been made yet.  According to New Zealand conservation groups, the species are at risk and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considered them as least concerned or nearly threatened because their reproductive rate is very slow.

What affects the population of frilled sharks?

Like all other sharks, frilled sharks had to face great environmental threats for their survival deep in the ocean. The first and foremost problem is the fishing net, people caught them when they swim near the upper surface and was sold commercially for meat and fish meal. Pollution is another problem for them, as the trash accumulates at the bottom which causes them to migrate from their habitat. Furthermore, harmful chemicals, oil spills can also have a great impact on them.

What does it conclude?

Frilled sharks are the only member of the family Chlamydoselachidae. Two species of frilled sharks have been reported till date but now only one out of the two species are living deep in the ocean. Though, the exact number of these species is not known as they lived to a depth of 4,000 feet or even more and it’s very hard to find them near the upper surface of water. So satisfy yourself with the pictures and videos of this enigmatic creature of the ocean!

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.