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Echinorhinus brucus (aka Spiny Shark)
The bramble shark has a long cylindrical body that averages 10-13 feet in length and weighs up to 500 pounds; females are larger than males. The body color is dark gray, olive, purple, black or brown, and there are metallic reflections on the dorsal side. It is distinguished from similar-looking sharks by having two small dorsal fins located far on the back just before the tail., as well as the large, thorn-like denticles that cover its body. The genus name Echinorhinus comes from the Greek echino, meaning "sea urchin, hedgehog," and rhinus, meaning "nose." Other features of this shark include five pairs of gill slits, nostrils spaced widely apart, a short snout, and the absence of anal fins.
Distribution and Habitat
The bramble shark has been found in the Western Atlantic from Georgia to Maine and off the coast of Argentina, the Eastern Atlantic from South Africa to Norway, most of the Mediterranean Sea, the Arabian Sea off Oman, the Indian Ocean near India and Sri Lanka, and off Japan, southern Australia, and New Zealand. It is rarely seen, however, because it lives on the sea bottom at depths of 600 to 2,950 feet.
Like most sharks, the bramble shark will eat almost anything it can catch and fit in its mouth, but it seems to have a preference for fish, smaller sharks, and crabs.
Bramble sharks give birth to live young, with 15-24 born per litter. The pups are 15-20 inches long at birth. How often bramble sharks mate and give birth is unknown.
Since bramble sharks are rarely seen their conservation status is listed as "data deficient."
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This page was last updated on April 20, 2017.