Bramble shark (Echinorhinus brucus)

Bramble shark female weighing 144kg
Loading more images and videos...

Bramble shark fact file

Bramble shark description

GenusEchinorhinus (1)

The most unusual feature of this sluggish shark is the sharp tooth-like denticles scattered over its body and fins (2) (3). A stout-bodied animal with soft, flabby skin, the dorsal side of the bramble shark ranges in colour from dark grey through to olive, brown or black, while below it is a paler brown, grey or white. Metallic reflections are visible along its back and the denticles can appear luminescent, despite lacking any specialised luminous organs (2) (4). It notably lacks an anal fin and both dorsal fins are set well back on the body towards the tail, beginning just behind the start of the pelvic fin (2) (4) (5).

Also known as
Spinous shark, spiny shark.
Male length: 1.6 m (1)
Female length: 2.0 m (1)

Bramble shark biology

A sluggish, bottom dwelling species, very little is known about the life history of the bramble shark, but it is thought likely to be slow growing and late maturing (1) (2) (4). With bony fish, small sharks and crustaceans being common prey, it is probably capable of short bursts of speed whilst hunting (1).

Employing an ovoviviparous reproductive mode, the 15 to 20 pups that comprise a litter, develop within eggs inside the mother’s body and emerge alive after hatching (1) (2). Nothing is known about the length of time the pups take to develop or the amount of time between successive breeding (1).


Bramble shark range

The bramble shark is known patchily from the North Sea, the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean (1) (2).


Bramble shark habitat

A deepwater, bottom-dwelling shark, found mainly at depths of 400 to 900 metres, on the upper and middle continental shelf (1) (2).


Bramble shark status

Classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Data Deficient


Bramble shark threats

Frustratingly little is known about the conservation status of this seemingly rare deepwater species. Although the bramble shark is probably not a frequent component of fisheries bycatch, there is some evidence that it is declining in the Northeast Atlantic. The concern is that if the bramble shark does exhibit a slow rate of reproduction, as is suspected, it is that much more susceptible to a rapid decline in population size (1).


Bramble shark conservation

In the absence of adequate information to determine the conservation status of the bramble shark, it is currently classified as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List (1). Consequently, further research into this species’ biology and population is vital before any necessary conservation measures can be implemented.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

To find out more about the conservation of sharks see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:


In the fishing industry, the part of the catch made up of non-target species.
In some fish, modified scales that resemble teeth.
Ovovivipary is a method of reproduction whereby the egg shell is weakly formed and young hatch inside the female; they are nourished by their yolk sac and then ‘born’ live.


  1. IUCN Red List (February, 2009)
  2. Florida Museum of Natural History (February, 2009)
  3. Campbell, A. and Dawes, J. (2004) Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Bigelow, H.B. and Schroeder, W.C. (1953) Fishes in the Gulf of Maine. Fishery Bulletin of the Fish and Wildlife Service, 53: 1 - 577. Available at:
  5. Daley, R.K., Stevens, J.D., Last, P.R. and Yearsley, G.K. (2002) Field guide to Australian sharks and rays. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Image credit

Bramble shark female weighing 144kg  
Bramble shark female weighing 144kg

© Mobulamobular

Porto de Pesca de Olhão
Armazém No.2


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Bramble shark (Echinorhinus brucus) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top