Hexanchus griseus, Bluntnose sixgill shark : fisheries, gamefish

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Hexanchus griseus (Bonnaterre, 1788)

Bluntnose sixgill shark
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Hexanchus griseus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Hexanchus griseus (Bluntnose sixgill shark)
Hexanchus griseus
Picture by Murch, A.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes(genus, species) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Hexanchiformes (Frill and cow sharks) > Hexanchidae (Cow sharks)
Etymology: Hexanchus: hex (Gr.), six; anchus, etymology unclear, perhaps anchos (Gr.), choke or throttle, referring to how six gill openings of H. griseus extend down onto the throat. (See ETYFish);  griseus: Medieval Latin for gray, reflecting the French vernacular “Le Griset,” referring to its dark-gray coloration. (See ETYFish).
More on author: Bonnaterre.

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; bathydemersal; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 1 - 2500 m (Ref. 58302), usually 180 - 1100 m (Ref. 45445). Subtropical; 6°C - 10°C (Ref. 125614); 65°N - 48°S, 180°W - 180°E

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Circumglobal with patchy distribution and possibly absent from Arctic and Antarctic. Highly migratory species.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 441.0, range 400 - 482 cm
Max length : 600 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 124786); common length : 300 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5217); max. published weight: 590.0 kg (Ref. 27436)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 0. A heavily-bodied, broad-headed sixgill shark, mouth ventral with 6 rows of lower, bladelike, comb-shaped teeth on each side (Ref. 247). Snout broadly rounded, body fusiform (Ref. 6871). Anal fin smaller than dorsal fin (Ref. 6871). Brown or grey above, paler below, with a light stripe along side (Ref. 26346). Fins with white edges (Ref. 6574). Live specimens with fluorescent green eyes (Ref. 6871). Six gill slits are very long (Ref. 35388).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Depth range reported at 0m-2500m (Ref. 125614). A deepwater species of the outer continental and insular shelves and upper slopes (Ref. 6871, 75154), islands, seamounts and mid-ocean ridges (Ref. 125614). Near bottom, occasionally pelagic, adults usually below 91 m (Ref. 58302). Juveniles may be found close inshore (Ref. 6871), while nursery areas are in very shallow waters (Ref. 125614). Found on the bottom by day, moving to the surface at night to feed, and where it may take longlines set for other species (Ref. 45445). Depth distribution related to growth and temperature, with juveniles having most shallow records and from colder, poleward regions (Ref. 58302). Generally occurs at a bottom temperature of 6 to 10°C (Ref. 125614). Feeds on a wide range of marine organisms, including other sharks, rays, chimaeras, bony fish, squids, crabs, shrimps, carrion, and even seals (Ref. 26969). Large sharks (at least 2m) take cetaceans and seals. Viviparous, very large litters of 47-108 pups (Ref. 125614). Give birth to almost 100 young (Ref. 35388). Young and adults may be segregated, with the young using inshore nursery grounds. Possibly long-lived (Ref. 125614). Is a eurytrophic predator that is capable of exploiting a wide range of prey species and habitats (Ref. 26969). A vertical migrant, it may sit on the bottom by day, and rise to the surface at night to feed (Ref. 247). It occurs alone or in groups. Adults are more sensitive to light than the juveniles and less seen in clear shallow waters, but more prevalent at night or areas with dense plankton blooms (Ref. 125614). It is locally common in bycatch and target fisheries for food, fishmeal and oil, and in sports fisheries, but vulnerable to overfishing and requires careful management (Ref. 125614). Marketed fresh, frozen, or dried salted (Ref. 247). Not known to have attacked people without provocation (Ref. 247).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Viviparous, very large litters of 47-108 pups (Ref. 125614). Size at birth 60-75 cm (Ref. 26346). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Compagno, Leonard J.V. | Collaborators

Ebert, D.A., S. Fowler and M. Dando, 2021. Sharks of the World: A complete guide. Princeton University Press, 607p. (Ref. 125614)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 126983)

  Near Threatened (NT) (A2bd); Date assessed: 21 November 2019


Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

Other (Ref. 4690)

Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO - Fisheries: landings, species profile; Publication: search | FIRMS - Stock assessments | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Common names
Spawning aggregation
Egg development
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


Special reports

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Internet sources

AFORO (otoliths) | Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes: genus, species | DiscoverLife | DORIS | ECOTOX | FAO - Fisheries: landings, species profile; Publication: search | Faunafri | Fishipedia | Fishtrace | GenBank: genome, nucleotide | GloBI | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | National databases | OceanAdapt | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | Socotra Atlas | Tree of Life | Wikipedia: Go, Search | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record

Estimates based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 123201): 3.6 - 15.7, mean 8.1 °C (based on 3800 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804):  PD50 = 0.8281   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00117 (0.00066 - 0.00209), b=3.18 (3.01 - 3.35), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245).
Trophic level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.2 se; based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179):  Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (Fec= 22-108).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Very high vulnerability (90 of 100).
Climate Vulnerability (Ref. 125649):  Moderate vulnerability (38 of 100).
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.
Nutrients (Ref. 124155):  Calcium = 8.75 [2.27, 47.99] mg/100g; Iron = 0.664 [0.163, 2.072] mg/100g; Protein = 19.5 [17.5, 21.5] %; Omega3 = 0.24 [0.10, 0.59] g/100g; Selenium = 79.6 [24.5, 261.1] μg/100g; VitaminA = 3.68 [0.99, 13.90] μg/100g; Zinc = 0.324 [0.155, 0.615] mg/100g (wet weight);