Common name: Prickly Shark

Scientific Name: Echinorhinus cookei

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Chondrichthyes

Order: Squaliformes

Family: Echinorhinidae

Genus: Echinorhinus

Species: E. cookei


The Prickly Shark is fairly large and is dark grey/brown with white streaks on top. The scientific name of this shark is Echinorhinus Cookei. They live along shelves and slopes at depths between 11 and 425 meters, and they are often found in submarine canyons. They do really good in these ecosystems because they like the warm water, and most of the fish they eat live around the same areas. The Prickly Shark is found throughout the Pacific, including Taiwan, New Zealand, Hawaii, California, Chile, and a few other places.


It has no anal fin, but two small spineless dorsal fins set far on the back by the tail. Its largest length is around 4 meters, and it looks very similar to the Bramble Shark, but the Bramble doesn't have the thorny denticles. Rather than a swim bladder, they have oily livers. The light oil helps them to be neutrally afloat, reducing the need to swim constantly to avoid sinking. Even though the population of the Prickly Shark is unknown, scientists believe that it is growing because each litter contains around 24 young ones.


They don't really have a specific role in the food web. The only competition for food would be with other sharks, but there are many more small fish than big sharks, so there isn't much of a fight. Other bigger sharks are really the only threat that they have of predators. But the Prickly Shark rarely gets eaten because of its quickness. One thing that really stood out to me when I was researching the Prickly Shark is that it is harmless to humans. Pretty much everything I found was new to me, except that it is a shark that lives in the ocean. But everything I discovered was very interesting.


Author: Matt S

Publish: 02/2009


Sources: Paul and Brito J. "Prickly Shark." Pietschmann. "Prickly Shark, Echinorhinus cookei. Ryan, Paddy. "Prickly Shark." Deep-sea creatures. Wrubel, Priscilla, Ed Strobin, Steve Manning, Georganne Papac, and Tracy Fortini. Under the Sea. EcoXplorer series. Time-Life Books. Hong Kong: Orpheus, 1996 Photo Credit: Photo by Lenore Litherland