Chlamydoselachus anguineus 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Hexanchiformes Chlamydoselachidae

Scientific Name: Chlamydoselachus anguineus
Species Authority: Garman, 1884
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Frilled Shark, Lizard Shark, Scaffold Shark
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. and Van der Laan, R. (eds). 2016. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 2 May 2016. Available at: (Accessed: 2 May 2016).
Taxonomic Notes: The Southern African Frilled Shark C. africana Ebert & Compagno, 2009 is distinct from C. anguineus.  

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-02-20
Assessor(s): Smart, J.J., Paul, L.J. & Fowler, S.L.
Reviewer(s): Lawson, J., Dulvy, N.K. & Kyne, P.M.
Contributor(s): Kyne, P.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M., Walls, R.H.L., Simpfendorfer, C. & Chin, A.
The Frilled Shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) has a wide but very patchy distribution in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Although little is known of its life history, this species is likely to have very low resilience to exploitation. This deepwater shark is rarely encountered as bycatch in bottom trawl, midwater trawl, deep-set longline, and deep-set gillnet fisheries. As bycatch, this species is sometimes retained for meat or fishmeal, or is discarded. Over the past few decades, deepwater fisheries have expanded and there is some concern that a continued expansion, both geographically and in its depth range, will increase the levels of bycatch of this species. Based on its wide range, however, and that many of the countries where this species has been caught have effective management and depth restrictions to fisheries in place (for example Australia, New Zealand and Europe), this species is assessed as Least Concern. Nonetheless, its apparent rarity and intrinsic sensitivity to over-exploitation mean that captures in fisheries should be tracked carefully (through the collection of species-specific fisheries catch and monitoring data) to ensure this species does not become threatened in the near future.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Frilled Shark has a wide ranging but very sporadic distribution in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In the eastern Atlantic, it has been caught off Arctic Norway, the British Isles, the Iberian peninsula, Madeira, and North Africa. In the western Atlantic, it has been caught off the eastern United States, Suriname, French Guiana and Guyana. It has also been caught on the mid-Atlantic Ridge north of the Azores. In the Pacific there are records from Australia (New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria), New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Peru, Chile, the United States (California) and the Hawaiian Islands (Roedel and Ripley 1950, Nakaya and Bass 1978, Bass 1979, Uyeno et al. 1983, Stewart 2000, Last and Stevens 2009, Ebert et al. 2013, Ebert and Stehmann 2013). Records from Angola, Namibia and South Africa refer to the Southern African Frilled Shark (C. africana) (Ebert and Compagno, 2009).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria); Chile; France; French Guiana; Guyana; Japan; Mauritania; Morocco; New Zealand; Norway; Peru; Portugal (Azores, Madeira); Spain (Canary Is.); Suriname; Taiwan, Province of China; United Kingdom; United States (California, Georgia, Hawaiian Is., Massachusetts)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – eastern central; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – southeast; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):1500
Upper depth limit (metres):50
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is no information available on the population size or trends. It is generally rare, but there are a few localities (for example, Japan) where it is more common.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Frilled Shark is demersal or benthopelagic, on the outer continental and insular shelves, and is reported as occasionally pelagic over the upper and middle continental slope. This species ranges from depths of 20 to 1,500 m, but is most typically found between 500 and 1,000 m depth (Compagno 1984, Last and Stevens 2009, Ebert et al. 2013). 

This species is viviparous, and likely matrotrophic with a probable gestation period of 1–2 years; young are born 39 to 60 cm total length (TL) and 2 to 15 pups are produced per litter, which are nourished by large uterine eggs (11–12 cm diameter); size at maturity is estimated to be 92–163 cm TL for males, and 130–135 cm TL for females; maximum size, known only for females, is approximately 196 cm TL (Gudger and Smith 1933, Tanaka et al. 1990, Last and Stevens 2009, Ebert et al. 2013). A single trawl off the mid-Atlantic Ridge to the north of the Azores retained 34 Frilled Sharks (15 males and 19 females) in December 2003; it is suspected that this trawl took place during a mating event (Kukueva and Pavlov 2008).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is sometimes retained from bycatch for fishmeal and for meat (Compagno 1984) and is also occasionally kept in aquaria (in Japan).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no targeted fisheries for the Frilled Shark, but this species is occasionally taken as bycatch in bottom and midwater trawls, deep-set longlines, and in deep-set gillnets. In Japan, the species is noted on occasion in fish markets.

Deepwater fisheries have expanded at an annual rate of 62.5 metres depth per decade over the last half century from 1950–2004 (Watson and Morato 2013). There is some concern that if deepwater fisheries continue to expand, bycatch for this species may also increase. However, in many of the countries where this species has been encountered (New Zealand, Australia, European waters and the United States), effective management and depth restrictions to fisheries are in place (see Conservation section). Nonetheless, species-specific fisheries catch and monitoring data would help understand the impact that bycatch is having on this species.

In Australian waters, a considerable proportion of the depth range of this species is outside the activity of commercial trawl fisheries so it is expected that bycatch levels would be low to negligible; catch levels are low in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) (Walker and Gason 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are national and regional initiatives aimed at reducing bycatch of deepwater sharks which benefit the Frilled Shark. 

In the European Union, based on advice from the International Council on the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to end fishing for deepwater sharks, the European Union (EU) Fisheries Council established a zero Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limitation for the sharks most vulnerable to over-exploitation in 2007. In 2010, the EU Fisheries Council added Frilled Shark to this measure and set the deepwater shark TAC at zero, starting in 2012 (CECAF 2012). The EU also introduced a zero bycatch allowance on the same deepwater shark species in 2012.  

In the Commonwealth Trawl Sector of the Australian Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery, most areas below 700 m are closed to trawling, thus locally providing refuge for this species (Penney et al. 2014). If deeper water areas were to be reopened for Orange Roughy fishing, then bycatch levels of this and other deepwater sharks should be monitored.

Classifications [top]

10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.1. Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.2. Marine Oceanic - Mesopelagic (200-1000m)
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
11. Marine Deep Benthic -> 11.1. Marine Deep Benthic - Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200-4,000m) -> 11.1.1. Hard Substrate
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
11. Marine Deep Benthic -> 11.1. Marine Deep Benthic - Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200-4,000m) -> 11.1.2. Soft Substrate
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:No
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:Not Applicable
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends

Bibliography [top]

Barnett, A., Braccini, J.M., Awruch, C.A. and Ebert, D.A. 2012. An overview on the role of Hexanchiformes in marine ecosystems: biology, ecology and conservation status of a primitive order of modern shark. Journal of Fish Biology 80: 966–990.

Bass, A.J. 1979. Records of little-known sharks from Australian waters. Proceedings of the Linnean Society N.S.W. 103(4): 247–254.

CECAF. 2012. Main Outcomes of the sixth session of the Scientific Sub-Committee. Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic, Rabat, Morocco.

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 Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Volume 4, Part 1.

Ebert, D.A. and Compagno, L.J.V. 2009. Chlamydoselachus africana, a new species of frilled shark from southern Africa (Chondrichthyes, Hexanchiiformes, Chlamydoselachidae). Zootaxa 2173: 1-18.

Ebert, D.A., Fowler, S. and Compagno, L. 2013. Sharks of the World. Wild Nature Press, Plymouth.

Gudger, E.W. and Smith, B.G. 1933. The natural history of the frilled shark Chlamydoselachus anguineus. In: E.W. Gudger (ed.). Bashford Dean Memorial Volume on Archaic Fishes. American Museum of Natural History, New York. pp. 245–319

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-1. Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2016).

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

Kukueva, E.I. and Pavlov, P.V. 2008. The first case of mass catch of a rare Frill Shark Chlamydoselachus anguineus over a seamount of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Journal of Ichthyology 48(8): 676–678.

Last, P.R. and Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Second Edition. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.

Nakaya, K. and Bass, A.J. 1978. The frill shark Chlamydoselachus anguineus in New Zealand seas. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 12(4): 397–398.

Penney, A., Georgeson, L., and Curtotti, R. 2014. Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. In: Georgeson, L., Stobutzki, I., and Curtotti, R. (eds), Fishery status reports 2013–14, pp. 111–127. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Roedel, P.M. and Ripley, W.E. 1950. California sharks and rays. California Fisheries Bulletin No. 75.

Stewart, A.L. 2000. The frill shark. Seafood New Zealand 8(8): 74–76.

Tanaka, S., Shiobara, Y., Hioki, S., Abe, H., Nishi, G., Yano, K. and Suzuki, K. 1990. The reproductive biology of the frilled shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus, from Suruga Bay, Japan. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology. 37(3): 273–291.

Uyeno, T., Matsuura K. and Fujii, E. (eds) 1983. Fishes trawled off Suriname and French Guiana. Japan Marine Fishery Resource Research Center, Tokyo, Japan.

Walker, T.I. and Gason, A.S. 2007. Shark and other chondrichthyan byproduct and bycatch estimation in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. Final report to Fisheries and Research Development Corporation Project No. 2001/007. July 2007. vi + 182 pp. Primary Industries Research Victoria, Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia.

Watson, R.A. and Morato, T. 2013. Fishing down the deep: Accounting for within-species changes in depth of fishing. Fisheries Research 140: 63-65.

Citation: Smart, J.J., Paul, L.J. & Fowler, S.L. 2016. Chlamydoselachus anguineus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41794A68617785. . Downloaded on 21 October 2016.
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