A Rare Frilled Shark From A Prehistoric Age Has Been Caught Off Victoria

A frilled shark. Image: South East Trawl Fishing Association. www.setfia.org.au

A strange living fossil, a frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus), has been caught by a commercial fisherman off Victoria.

The fish gets its name from its six pairs of gills and is one of two remaining species dating back 80 million years.

Frilled shark. Image: South East Trawl Fishing Association. www.setfia.org.au

The frilled shark, with 300 needle-shaped teeth in 25 rows, has a dark brown, eel-like body, grows to a length of two metres and can swallow prey whole with its flexible jaws.

It has been caught as deep as 1.5km.

David Guillot, who brought this 1.5 metre specimen up last week, says he’s seen nothing like it in his 30 years as a commercial fisherman.

“The head on it was like something out of a horror movie,” he told radio station 3AW in Melbourne. “It was quite horrific looking.”

Simon Boag, CEO of the South East Trawl Fishing Association, says he hasn’t been able to find a fisherman who had seen one before.

A live 1.6 metre long frilled shark found by a Japanese fisherman in 2007. Awashima Marine Park/Getty Images

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