About This Fish

Six Gilled Shark


The sixgilled shark (Hexanchus griseus) is also known as bluntnose sixgilled shark, cow shark, the grey shark, the mud shark and the Bulldog shark. It belongs to the family Hexanchidae under order Hexanchiformes of class Elasmobranchii. It is distributed in North Carolina to Florida, northern Gulf of Mexico to northern Argentina, Iceland and Norway to Namibia, including the Mediterranean, Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa, Wastern Japan to New Zealand and Hawaii, Aleutian Islands, Alaska to Baja California, Mexico and Chile. It is a reclusive deepwater species which occurs in the waters of continental and insular shelves and upper slopes. The juvenile is found closer inshore while adult occupies deeper waters.



The six gilled shark has a heavy powerful body with a broad head and blunt snout. Body is brown or gray above, paler below with a light stripe along the sides. It has only one dorsal fin which is located on the back of its body near the tail. The pectoral fin is broad with rounded edge while anal fin is smaller than the dorsal fin. It has small fluorescent green eyes with a black pupil. Mouth is ventral which contains 6 rows of blade-like and comb-shaped teeth. It has six gills on each side of the face. Caudal fin is strongly asymmetrical with much small lower lobe. It rests along the bottom during the day to depths of 2000 m and swims close to the surface or moves into shallow waters at night to feed. The sixgilled shark is considered a slow but strong swimmer. It is carnivorous predator which feeds mostly on cephalopods, crustaceans, fish and rays and some marine mammals. The female reaches sexual maturity at the age between 18 and 35 years while male between 11 and 14 years. It gives birth up to 100 live young which are 60-75 cm in length at birth. It grows up to 800 cm in length and 720 kg in weight. It can live up to 100 years.


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Location Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Azores Islands