The gulper shark inhabits deep waters, living in schools and predating on small fish and on invertebrates such as hake and cephalopods (1) (2).
This species can live for more than 30 years, with the female gulper shark reaching maturity between 12 and 16 years, and the male between 7 and 8 years (1).
The gulper shark has an exceptionally long gestation period of two years. The unfertilised egg cell of the gulper shark reaches one of the largest cellular sizes described for any animal, weighing between 143 and 370 grams. The gulper shark is ovoviviparous, producing eggs which hatch inside the females’ body. The components of the egg and any unfertilised eggs are used to nourish the developing pup, which is then born live (4).
A long gestation period, one pup per litter, late maturity and occasional resting periods between pregnancies mean that the gulper shark has an extremely low reproductive rate, with probably has the lowest reproductive potential of any elasmobranch (1).