Echinorhinus brucus, sometimes known as the Bramble Shark Fish, Spinous Shark, or Spiny Shark, is a rare, huge, sluggish deepwater shark found primarily in continental waters. The bramble shark (Echinorhinus brucus) is one of two shark species that belong to the Echinorhinidae family. Spinous sharks and spiny sharks are two other frequent names for this species. It can be found in tropical and temperate waters all over the world, with the exception of the eastern Pacific Ocean.

This rarely seen bramble shark prefers to swim close to the seafloor, usually at depths of 400–900 m (1,300–3,000 ft), though it can also be found in much shallower water. In 1788, French naturalist Pierre Joseph Bonnaterre published the first description of the bramble shark. This type of shark has only been seen a few times, and generally by itself.

Bramble shark fish species in the water
credit:padi.com

Bramble Shark Fish Species Distribution and Habitat

The Bramble Shark Fish has been found in a variety of tropical and temperate waters around the world, with the exception of the eastern Pacific Ocean. The majority of the fish have come from the eastern Atlantic and western Indian Oceans, where its range stretches from the North Sea and the British Isles to southern Mozambique, including the Mediterranean Sea.

This species is represented in the western Atlantic by a few specimens from Massachusetts, North Carolina, Louisiana, Tobago, Brazil, and Argentina. It has been found in Oman, India, southern Japan, southern Australia, New Zealand, and potentially Kiribati in the Indo-Pacific.

The Bramble Shark Fish is most usually found near the seafloor on continental and insular shelves and slopes at depths of 400–900 m (1,300–3,000 ft). This species may migrate into shallower depths of 20–200 m (66–656 feet) in European seas throughout the summer. Since the 18th and 19th centuries, its population has dropped dramatically in the northern Atlantic, owing to overfishing.

Bramble Shark Fish Body Characteristics

The body of the Bramble Shark Fish is thick and cylindrical, with a flattened head. With widely separated nostrils preceded by little flaps of skin, the snout is blunt and shorter than the width of the mouth. The eyes are devoid of nictitating membranes, and the tiny spiracles are hidden behind them. The corners of the large, curving mouth have relatively short furrows.

Bramble shark fish species in the water
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Each tooth is knife-like and has 20–26 upper and 22–26 lower tooth rows. The pectoral fins are angular and short, whereas the pelvic fins are long and broad. The initial dorsal fin origin is behind the pelvic fin origins, and the dorsal fins are tiny. There is no such thing as an anal fin. The caudal peduncle is thick and lacks notches at the origins of the caudal fins.

A film of foul-smelling mucus several millimeters thick covers the skin. The dermal denticles are dispersed randomly over the body and range in size from 1.5 cm (0.59 in) to 1.5 cm (0.59 in). At birth, the bramble shark is 1.3 to 1.6 feet [40 to 50 cm] long. Males reach maturity at a length of fewer than 4.9 feet [1.5 meters], whereas females reach maturity at a length of between 6.6 and 7.2 feet [2 and 2.2 meters].

Their maximum length is between 10 and 10.2 feet [3.05 and 3.10 meters]. Grey, brownish, or blackish in color, and often lighter below. On the back and sides, there may be red or black dots or blotches. The edges of the fins are blackish.

Bramble Shark Fish Diet

The Bramble Shark Fish food consists of smaller sharks, bony fish, and crabs, which this slow-moving species can suck. Its pharynx is big in comparison to its mouth, implying that it captures prey using suction.

Bramble shark fish species in the water
credit:inaturaist.com

Bramble Shark Fish Spawning

Females have two functioning ovaries and two uteruses, making this species aplacental viviparous. Puppies were estimated to be 40–50 cm (16–20 in) long when they were born, with litter sizes ranging from 15 to 52. Near-term embryos have undeveloped dermal denticles, which look like tiny spines within open pits in the skin. The smallest known mature males and females are 1.5 m (4.9 ft) and 2.1 m (6.9 ft) long, respectively, during sexual maturity.

Uses of Bramble Shark Fish

This Bramble Shark Fish is converted into fishmeal in the eastern Atlantic, but it has limited commercial value. Its liver oil is highly prized as medicine in South Africa, but it is deemed inferior in India and is used to coat canoes to deter woodboring beetles.

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