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Sharpnose Sevengill Shark (Heptranchias perlo)

Sharpnose Sevengill Shark (Heptranchias perlo)

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Family: Hexanchidae. Cowsharks or Sixgill and Sevengill Sharks
Genus: Heptranchias
Species: perlo
Taxonomic name: Heptranchias perlo

This shark is one of four species in the Cowshark family that have six or seven gill slits. The only shark not in this family that has more than five gill slits is the Frilled Shark. The Sharpnose Sevengill Shark is slender in profile with a long upper tail or caudal fin lobe. There is a single dorsal fin sitting well back on the dorsal surface situated above the anal fin and behind the pelvic fins. The mouth is very large, capable of opening wide to take in large prey. The teeth are long and slender in the upper jaw. The lower jaw has teeth that have a long base with the cutting edge broken up into multiple cusps so that they appear to be a section of a large toothed saw blade. The upper pointed teeth hook into their prey then with thrashing motions of the head the Sevengill uses it's saw-like lower teeth to carve out large mouthfuls of food.

The dorsal or upper surface is usually dark to pale grey turning into silver or pewter flanks and white belly. The large eyes are emerald green. The snout is long and tapers to a fairly sharp point. The seven gill slits wrap around from level to or above the eye level to well around the throat.

Sharpnose sharks are found in all oceans in tropical to temperate zones in 50-1000m, usually more common in 100-400m.

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