Heptranchias perlo 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Hexanchiformes Hexanchidae

Scientific Name: Heptranchias perlo
Species Authority: (Bonnaterre, 1788)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Sharpnose Sevengill Shark, One-finned Shark, Sevengill Cow Shark, Perlon Shark, Sharpsnouted Sevengill, Slender Sevengill
Heptranchias dakini Whitley, 1931

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Paul, L. & Fowler, S. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003)
Reviewer(s): Shark Specialist Group Australia & Oceania Regional Group (Shark Red List Authority)
A wide ranging, but relatively uncommon species where it occurs. Its centers of abundance may be at outer shelf, slope, and oceanic seamounts where commercial fisheries for other target species are likely to develop. It is likely to have a low intrinsic rate of increase, and poor resilience to depletion. This species is of minor commercial importance, but bycatch in bottom trawl and longline fisheries may have caused population declines where deepwater fisheries have been underway for several decades. Increased deepwater fishing effort in many regions is likely to affect populations in the future. The species is assessed as Near Threatened due to concern that it may meet the Vulnerable A2d+A3d+4d criteria.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Wide-ranging in all tropical and temperate seas except Eastern North Pacific. Usually regarded as dispersed, reported as aggregated or common in a few areas. Usually captured in 300 to 600 m, but occasionally taken in shallow water, and at depths to 1,000 m.
Countries occurrence:
Algeria; Angola (Angola); Argentina; Australia; Benin; Brazil; Cameroon; Chile; China; Congo; Côte d'Ivoire; Egypt; Equatorial Guinea; France; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Greece; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; India; Indonesia; Italy; Japan; Liberia; Libya; Mauritania; Mexico (Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatán); Morocco; Mozambique; New Zealand; Nigeria; Senegal; Seychelles (Aldabra); Sierra Leone; South Africa; Spain; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; United States (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas); Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – northeast; Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Mediterranean and Black Sea; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – southeast
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: No population/subpopulation information anywhere.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Marine, demersal to semi-pelagic, probably ranging well into midwater, on the upper continental slope, most commonly taken in 300 to 600 m, sometimes deeper, recorded to 1,000 m. Possibly aggregated near seamounts. Occasionally reports from shallow water are possible misidentifications. Undoubtedly an agile, voracious predator on pelagic fishes, squids, and crustaceans. Maximum size approximately 140 cm. Matures 75 to 85 cm (males), 90 to 105 (Females). Ovoviviparous, number of young 6 to 20 in a litter, size at birth 25 cm. May breed year-round, but gestation time and reproductive periodicity unknown. Otherwise virtually no information on biology, intrinsic rate of increase etc.
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Used for human consumption and presumably for fishmeal. Said to be good eating. Occasionally kept in captivity in Japan. Aggressive when captured, and even if not retained is likely to be killed.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): A bycatch in some deepwater fisheries. Caught in small to moderate numbers as a bycatch of fisheries utilizing bottom or midwater trawls or as part of deepwater fisheries using bottom longlines to catch sharks or tilefish (Gulf of Mexico), but of minor commercial importance. Used for human consumption and presumably for fishmeal. Said to be good eating. Occasionally kept in captivity in Japan. Aggressive when captured, and even if not retained is likely to be killed.

Population status uncertain, but it is suspected that declines may have occurred in places where deepwater demersal trawl fisheries for shrimp and bony fishes have been operational over the past few decades (such as southern Mozambique). This shark is wide-ranging but relatively uncommon in most places where it occurs, and is taken by a wide variety of demersal fisheries. There are no data available on current and past catches, and species-specific catch data are needed.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None in effect or proposed.

Classifications [top]

10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.1. Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)
suitability: Unknown  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing    

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing    

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Bass, A.J., D'Aubrey, J.D. and Kistnasamy, N. 1975. Sharks of the east coast of southern Africa. V. The families Hexanchidae, Chlamydoselachidae, Heterodontidae, Pristiophoridae and Squatinidae. South African Association for Marine Biological Research, Oceanographic Research Institute Investigational Report No. 43.

Capapé, C. 1980. New description of Heptranchias perlo (Bonnaterre 1788) (Pisces, Pleurotremata, Hexanchidae). Biological reproduction data and diets of some samples of the Tunisia Coasts. Bull. Off. Natl. Peches (Tunisia) 4(2): 231–264.

Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. No. 125, vol. 4.

Garrick, J.A.F. and Paul, L.J. 1971. Heptranchias dakini Whitley, 1931, a synonym of H. perlo (Bonnaterre, 1788), the sharpnosed sevengill or perlon shark, with notes on sexual dimorphism in this species. Zoology Publications from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) 54: 1–14.

Halstead, B.W., Auerbach, P.S. and Campbell, D.R. 1990. A colour atlas of dangerous marine animals. Wolfe Medical Publications Ltd, W.S. Cowell Ltd, Ipswich, England.

IUCN. 2003. 2003 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 18 November 2003.

IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group. Specialist Group website. Available at:

Last, P.R. and Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO, Australia.

Sierra, L.M., Claro, R. and Popova, O.A. 1994. Alimentacion y relaciones tróficas. In: R. Claro (ed.) Ecología de los Peces Marinos de Cuba. pp. 263-284. Instituto de Oceanología Academia de Ciencias de Cuba and Centro de Investigaciones de Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Stewart, A.L. 2002. At sixes and sevens with four cowsharks. Seafood New Zealand 10(7): 65–68.

Tanaka, S. and Mizue, K. 1977. Studies on sharks. 11. Reproduction in female Heptranchias perlo. Bulletin of the Faculty of Fisheries Nagasaki University No. 42: 1–9.

Uiblein, F., Geldmacher, A., Koester, F., Nellen, W. and Kraus, G. 1999. Species composition and depth distribution of fish species collected in the area of the Great Meteor Seamount, eastern central Atlantic, during cruise M42/3 with seventeen new records. Informes Tecnicos del Instituto Canario de Ciencias Marinas 5: 49–85.

Citation: Paul, L. & Fowler, S. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003). 2003. Heptranchias perlo. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2003: e.T41823A10572878. . Downloaded on 31 May 2016.
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