A few distinguishable characteristics are that the broadnose sevengill shark actually only has one dorsal fin, where most sharks have two. They also have a wide head and blunt nose (hence the “broadnose”). And, as the name also says, they do have seven gills (unlike most sharks that have only five). They range in coloration from a copper brown color to a silvery color, its body speckled with black spots (like stars, almost). These spots can actually be used as an identification; in fact, Ocean Sanctuaries has a project dedicated to this.
- The eyes. The broadnose has smaller eyes than the sharpnose sevengill sharks.
- Black spots. The broadnose has these spots covering their bodies. Sharpnose sevengills? No spots.
Lovely image, no?
After a satisfying meal, they tend to not eat for a while, letting their reward digest in their tummies for a while. In the meantime, you can see them cruising over their preferred rocky bottom habitats, but also over sandy and muddy substrates, mostly near the bottom and rarely seeing the surface.
Sharks are ovoviviparious, giving birth in shallow bays during the spring/summer after a 12 month gestation period. These litter sizes can be large, numbers rising up to 82 pups! The young pups will stay in the safety of the shallows until they move offshore later on.
This shark does have a wide range, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t face troubles. In fact, they are heavily fished by inshore fisheries. In the 30’s and 40’s (of the 1900’s), sevengills were sought for their liver oil and completely overfished in San Francisco Bay. This fishery collapsed, but that didn’t stop people from fishing them for sport and competitions, completely depleting the population. There is little to not fishery data for these animals elsewhere, however, which is why the IUCN lists them as “Data Deficient.” It is listed as “Near Threatened” in the eastern Pacific Ocean, however.
Here are some photos of sevengills and I in Cape Town, South Africa: