Broadnose Sevengill Sharks (Notorynchus cepedianus)

Broadnose Sevengill Sharks, Notorynchus cepedianus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Hexanchiformes
Family: Hexanchidae
Genus: Notorynchus
Species: N. cepedianus

Broadnose sevengill sharks, Notorynchus cepedianus, are the only extant members of the genus Notorynchus, in the family Hexanchidae. Notorynchus comes from two Greek words meaning ‘back’ and ‘snout’ and cepedianus is Latin for ‘spotted.’ They are recognizable because of their 7 gill slits, while most shark species have 5 gill slits, with the exception of the members of the Order Hexanchiformes which have 6.

These sharks are gray or brownish with spots, and have top jaws with jagged cusped teeth and bottom jaws with comb shaped teeth. This adaptation allows these sharks to eat other sharks, rays, fish, seals, and carrion. These sharks live in temperate areas up to at least 135 m (450 ft) deep and have only attacked humans in captivity. These sharks are ovoviviparous, bearing live young. They grow up to 300 cm (10 feet) long.

Marine Species Database at MarineBio:

Monterey Bay Aquarium:

Sister site: ‘Rapture of the Deep’

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I’d like to thank the following people for their valuable input and suggestions:

Many thanks to: Jeffrey Gallant, Director of GEERG for his help and assistance.

Vallorie Hodges, DSO of the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which has 9 Sevengill sharks:


Dr. David Ebert, Program Manager at the Pacific Shark Research Center, Moss Landing:


Alison Kock, Marine Biologist with Save Our Seas Foundation: