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Bluntnose Sixgill Shark Hexanchus griseus


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Bluntnose Sixgill Shark
credit: Operation Deep Scope 2005 Expedition

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Family: Hexanchidae, Cow Sharks view all from this family

Description Skin color ranges from tan to brown, or as dark as black. It has a light colored lateral line down the sides and on the fins' edges. There are darker colored spots on the sides. The general body shape is a heavy, powerful body with a broad head with small eyes. The pupils are black and the eye color is a fluorescent blue green. One dorsal fin located near the caudal fin. Pectoral fins are broad with rounded edges. There are six gill slits which gives the shark its name. Most common sharks today have only 5 gill slits. As an adult the bluntnose sixgill shark can grow to a massive size. True body length is determined by the gender of the individual. Males generally average between 309 and 330 cm. Females tend to be larger, averaging between 350 and 420 cm. This shark can attain a length of up to 550 cm.

Dimensions Up to 16' (4.8 m).

Habitat Ocean or bay shallows.

Range Southeast, Florida, California, Northwest, Western Canada.

Discussion Although sluggish in nature, the bluntnose sixgill shark is capable of attaining high speeds for chasing and catching its prey. Because of the bluntnose sixgill shark's large and diverse range they have a wide variety of prey items. Their diet consists of a variety of mollusks, crustaceans, Agnathans (which is a family consisting of hagfish), and sea lampreys. They also dine on Cape anchovies, Pacific salmon, various species of hake. There are also many more species that are eaten depending upon the shark's home range. Despite its size, the shark is not known to have eaten any humans.