Bramble Sharks. Echinorhinidae
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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.