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Sixgill Shark - Hexanchus griseus
Photo by CBNMS

As their name implies, sixgill sharks have six very long gill slits whereas most species of shark only have five. They also have six broad saw-like teeth on each side of the lower jaw which distinguishes them from many other sharks. Their body shape is fusiform, with a broad head and fluorescent green eyes. Sixgill sharks are usually dark brown or gray to black above with a lighter streak along their side and stomach. Adults average a length of approximately 16 feet and can live for almost 80 years.

Sixgill Shark
(Hexanchus griseus)

Temperate seas worldwide; highly migratory

Deepwater, over the outer continental and insular shelves as well as upper slopes

Large bony and cartilaginous fishes as well as snails, crabs, shrimp, squid, and dead marine mammals


The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

Quick Fact
Sixgill sharks closely resemble fossil forms that date from the Triassic period approximately 200 million years ago.

Learn More
- Florida Museum of Natural History
- Puget Sound Action Team
- FishBase