Friday, November 6, 2015

Frilled Shark Photos Diet and Habitat

Frilled shark head
Source: OpenCage 
 [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

A Rare Opportunity A living frilled shark!

In 2007, Japanese marine park staff at Awashima Marine Park had a rare opportunity to view the ancient predator of the continental shelf, the Frilled Shark. The captured female specimen came within human reach because she was obviously close to death. This species habitat is well beyond the reach of humans as it lives in depths of 400 feet to 4,200 feet. This unusual fish takes the name "frilled" shark because of its eel like appearance with collar like gills in rows, with a single dorsal fin and a caudal fin. It is in a family of its own and at least one Japanese scientist believes it should be in an Oder of its own. The Chlamydoselachus anguineus is in a category of its own, unlike other ancient extinct species it is doing fine.

Chlamydoselachus anguineus
 [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
The Frilled Shark caught by Japanese marine park staff was initially discovered by local fishermen. Routinely, sick or dying Frilled Sharks end up in fisherman nets. It is the first time an ill Frilled Shark lived long enough to transport it to the Marine saltwater aquarium, and allow scientists to observe it swimming around. It died within a few hours, but the opportunity to observe the rare fish up close at the surface is unmatched. Contrary to the statements made by some public members, the Frilled Shark would not have left its comfortable habitat in the depths of the ocean if it were not already dying. Many comments criticized the marine park officials for interfering with the Frilled Shark. These comments were unwarranted.

Watch A Living Frilled Shark

The Frilled Shark At A Glance

Chlamydoselachus anguineus (mouth and teeth)
Source: Wiki Commons
The Frilled Shark has over 300 tiny trident-shaped teeth aligned in 25 rows. It feeds primarily on other creatures of the deep, like rays and deep sea squids. Its snake like appearance allows it to surprise and overtake its victims.

It measures approximately six feet in length. It is an awesome, frightening looking specimen, but there is no evidence it attacks or even likes humans. The chances of meeting one on the hunt is unlikely because humans cannot exist in the depths of the sea tolerated well by the Frilled Shark. There have been 264 specimens of the Frilled Shark examined by scientists in Sagura Bay in Japan. According to scientists in Japan there may a close relative located in waters in Southern Africa.

Frilled Sharks Diet Or: Will Frilled Sharks Have You For Lunch?

If a frilled shark swam into a restaurant, then they’d most likely order a hearty helping of squid. Even though you probably aren’t going to find these strange-looking creatures in a restaurant anytime soon, they definitely do spend most of their feeding time munching on squid and other cephalopods. A frilled shark’s mouth is the perfect squid-catching device because of its long needle-like teeth that are excellent at snagging the tentacles and soft bodies of its prey.

No one knows for sure what type of squid frilled sharks prefer because they have so infrequently been observed feeding. But, by looking inside their stomachs, scientists have found that they eat quite a bit more slower-moving species of squid than faster-moving ones. This is likely because frilled sharks are not very strong swimmers. They are great hunters, but their bodies are not made to fly through the ocean at breakneck speeds.

Instead, the frilled shark hovers in the dark depths of the ocean waiting for unsuspecting prey to come too close. When a squid (or other prey animal) is close enough, the shark lunges out like a snake lurching out of its coil. If the frilled shark is lucky, this sudden, lunging movement is enough for it to snag its dinner in its wide-open jaw.

Chlamydoselachus anguineus
Most of the time frilled sharks stick with squid for their meals, but, sometimes, they branch out a little. They’re not picky eaters and will eat pretty much anything that they can get their mouths on! In addition to squid, frilled sharks commonly munch on small bony fish and other small species of sharks. Their jaws can open wide enough to swallow animals half their size, so they’re in luck when they really need a big treat!

Because the frilled shark is so rarely observed, no one is completely sure how it captures its prey. While the snake-like lunging action is the most widely agreed upon theory, a few others have been put forth. One of the strangest of these is that the frilled shark is actually able to close off its gills and suck water (and prey) towards its mouth. Thinking about this is intimidating in any respect.

Frilled sharks are one of the oldest known ocean animals. Scientists believe that their species may be over 150 million years old! Though their feeding habits might be a little strange, they have definitely stood the long test of time. It definitely doesn’t look like frilled sharks are going anywhere soon.

By Franz Theodor Doflein (1873—1924) [Public domain]
Source: Wiki Commons

Books About Frilled Sharks

The anatomy of the frilled shark chlamydoselachus anguineus Garman
The Bashford Dean memorial volume : archaic fishes / edited by Eugene Willis Gudger. 1937, American Museum of Natural History. 174 pages with plates and figures.

The Natural History of the Frilled Shark Chlamydoselachus Anguineus
The Bashford Dean Memorial Volume Archaic Fishes, Article V.  74 pages.

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