Echinorhinus brucus

Common Name

Bramble Shark

Year Described

Bonnaterre, 1788


A large shark with a stout body and a flattened head. There are two equal-sized dorsal fins, both of which lack spines, close together far back on the body. First dorsal originates slightly posterior to pelvic fin origin. Caudal peduncle very short. Anal fin is absent. Pelvic fins are larger than either dorsal fin and is set far back on belly. Pectoral fin is ventral and rounded. Caudal fin is large and broad with a weak (absent in juveniles) ventral lobe and no sub-terminal notch.. There are five gill slits anterior to the pectoral fin, the fifth of which is larger than the rest. The teeth are compressed and sharp and are similar in both jaws. Edges of the mouth with short labial furrows. Very small spiracles behind eyes and nostrils are far apart. Skin is covered with spine-like denticles that are restricted to the snout in juveniles and spread to the body in adults, eventually covering it.


Gray, grayish-brown, to blackish above with a lighter belly. May have scattered black or reddish blotches on body and dark margins to fins. Dermal denticles are usually whitish.


Mature adults from 150-220 cm. Maximum size 310 cm. Males mature at a smaller size than females.


Benthic over continental slope and shelf waters from 200-900 m. In cooler upwelling regions it will enter shallower waters. It is sluggish and feeds on bony fishes, cephalopods, and crustaceans. Ovoviviparous (15-26 young).


Widely scattered records from the western Atlantic: one from Massachusetts, off Virginia, off Cape Hatteras, and three from off the Mississippi Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. Also reported from Brazil, Patagonia (Caille & Olsen, 2000), and Tobago.


Caille, G.M. and E.K. Olsen. 2000). A bramble shark, Echinorhinus brucus, caught near the Patagonian coast, Argentina. Revista de BiologĂ­a Marina y OceanografĂ­a, 35 (1): 117-119.

Castro, J.I. 2011. The Sharks of North America. Oxford University Press, 640 pp.

Compagno, L., M. Dando, and S. Fowler. 2005. Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press, 480 pp.