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Bramble Sharks. Echinorhinidae species.

All text on this page is copyright protected: © 2010 Kelvin Aitken.
All rights reserved. Students may use this information for personal research only. Not for commercial use.

There are two species of bramble sharks in the world, the Prickly Shark, which grows to 400 cm, and Bramble Shark, growing to 260 cm. Both are found in cool southern waters off South Australia and Victoria in depths of 70-900 metres. They are almost identical in appearance with a stout rounded body, a small slightly flattened head, two small dorsal fins set well back on the body next to the broad elongated caudal or tail fin. There is a set of pelvic fins but no anal fins. They have five gills and a set of small spiracles.

The colouring of the two species differs slightly, with Prickly Sharks being greyish brown all over with black edges to their fins and pale or white under the snout and around the mouth. The Bramble Shark has a grey to brown body colour, sometimes with a purplish tinge, but with a paler belly. It may have small dark spots on the back and flanks.

The hide of most sharks have a rough covering of small tooth-like scales called denticles that give them a characteristic raspy coat. Normally denticles are very small and best seen with a magnifying glass but those of the Bramble Shark are prominent — as large as 1.5 cm across the base — and scattered all over the body in small clusters. The Prickly Shark also has denticles but they are smaller, only 0.5 cm across the base, and they do not form clusters.

The teeth in both species are blade-like, ideal for holding and slicing. It is thought that they vacuum up prey, rapidly opening their mouth and throat to suck in small sharks, squid, crabs and fish.

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