Video of a male seven-gill shark filmed while diving Saturday on Carpinteria Reef off Carpinteria. It looked like it was about 6 feet long.
These sharks are unique for many reasons, especially because they have seven gill slits instead of five, like most sharks. They also don’t have a first dorsal fin like most sharks do.
Seven-gill sharks can grow to about 10 feet long. With a diet of sharks, rays, fish, seals and carrion, they’re the principal large benthic predator off the California coast.
The sharks can be found seasonally in shallow waters of 50 to 100 feet but spend most of their time at great depths. Sightings are not common but seven-gills sightings have been increasing, especially off San Diego.
— Jim Knowlton is owner and creative director of Blue Ocean Productions in Ventura.