Frilled Shark Or Sea Serpent?

Posted in Wildlife A-Z | December 9, 2010 | Comment Now

The name ‘frilled shark’ seems almost oxymoronic. The name, by itself, seems capable of conjuring up images of a fluffy little creature that will wag its fins. If that really is your version of this creature, you’re not far from wrong; but you’re definitely not close to right either. This creature is close to the shape of an eel, and is sometime even mistaken for an eel. Not so harmless, you say! But wait till you hear more. The one distinguishing characteristic of this creature is its six gill slits. Do you know what that’s equivalent to? If there had ever been a ‘hell’s angel’ tattoo for sea creatures, it would have been in the form of six gill slits.

This creature is so weird in its appearance that a number of cryptologists believe that it must have been this creature that was responsible for the ‘sea serpent’ sightings. It has a strange head that resembles a lizard; it has a ruffled throat, and a long body that can be described as serpentine. The fins of this huge fish are very small when compared to its body.

The frilled shark gets its name from the collar-like gills which possess frilly edges. It is known to grow up to 6.5 feet in length. The first gill slit of this huge creature is said to be right across its throat. The long jaws of this fish are terminal (i.e. they’re at the end of the head, unlike the other sharks where the jaws are underneath). This shark comes armed with around 300 odd trident shaped teeth that get arranged in around 25 different rows. The skeletal structure of this complex animal can be described as being ‘deceptively simple’. This can perhaps be attributed to the fact that this is one creature that has probably not undergone evolution since the prehistoric times. It is still the same structure you see now, that had been seen centuries ago.

In fact, if scientists and reports are to be believed, this is one creature that literally came back from the dead. These animals were proven to be extinct. It was only in the year 2007 that a live frilled shark washed up on a shore and it was made known to the world that they still survive.

Given the shape of the shark, it has been assumed that they move around using the wriggle-method employed by the eel. Given the fact that the fins of this creature are arranged the way they are at the posterior end, there is but one suggestion that this creature is capable of hovering in mid-water and it will use the posterior fins to strike at its prey, just like snakes do.


The reproduction cycle of these creatures is said to be oviparous. The mother will hatch the eggs inside her body and the little frilled versions of sharks will be born. As per a research conducted in the Saruga Bay of Japan, it was found that these species are said to breed all through the year. They produce a litter of around 6 pups. The gestation period of this creature is said to be an astonishing 42 months, which translates to 3.5 years. This gestation period is double the gestation period of the African elephant (22 months) and this could well be the longest breeding cycle for any known vertebrate.

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