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Temporal range: 196–0 Ma
Sinemurian to present[1]
Hexanchus griseus (Bluntnose sixgill shark).gif
Bluntnose sixgill shark
(Hexanchus griseus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: Hexanchiformes
Family: Hexanchidae
Genus: Hexanchus
Rafinesque, 1810

See text

The sixgill sharks are a genus, Hexanchus, of deepwater sharks in the family Hexanchidae. These sharks are characterized by a broad, pointed head, six pairs of gill slits, comb-like, yellow lower teeth, and a long tail. The largest species can grow up to 8 m long and weigh over 600 kg (1320 lb).[2] They are continental shelf-dwelling and abyssal plain scavengers with a keen sense of smell and are among the first to arrive at carrion, together with hagfish and rattails. They show a characteristic rolling motion of the head when feeding. They have been found at depths to 2,500 ft (760 m).[citation needed] Though only two extant species (the bluntnose sixgill shark and the bigeyed sixgill shark) were originally known, a third, the Atlantic sixgill shark, was found to exist.[3][4]

Swimming Behavior The bluntnose sixgill shark, Hexanchus griseus, is relatively common to scientists. However, very little information exists about its distribution patterns, migrations and behavior. Data on occurrence and behavior of sixgill sharks inhabiting waters north of Spain (Galicia and Cantabrian Sea, NE Atlantic) were obtained from yearly oceanographic trawl surveys. Data obtained from one electronic pop-up tag (Mini PAT), provided information about depth and temperature preferences over 75 days. Mean depth obtained during that period was 913 m (depth range 727–1247 m), and the mean temperature was 10.3 °C, (range 8.0–10.8 ° C). Movements up and down in the water column within a single day ranged from 50 to 385 m. No cyclic diel vertical migration was however observed, the shark moved smoothly without a defined pattern.[5]

Extant species[edit]

Extinct species[edit]

Fossil teeth of Hexanchus andersoni from Jurassic

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sepkoski, Jack (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera (Chondrichthyes entry)". Bulletins of American Paleontology. 364: 560. Archived from the original on 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  2. ^ Kindersley, Dorling (2001). Animal. New York City: DK Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7894-7764-4.[page needed]
  3. ^ a b "New shark species confirmed: Genetic testing finds a different sixgill shark". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b "New species of shark discovered through genetic testing". phys.org. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  5. ^ Rodríguez-Cabello, Cristina; González-Pola, César; Rodríguez, Augusto; Sánchez, Francisco (September 2018). "Insights about depth distribution, occurrence and swimming behavior of Hexanchus griseus in the Cantabrian Sea (NE Atlantic)". Regional Studies in Marine Science. 23: 60–72. doi:10.1016/j.rsma.2017.10.015.

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