• Chlamydoselachidae;
  • Hexanchidae;
  • mandibular arch muscles;
  • hyoid arch muscles;
  • squalomorphs


The order Hexanchiformes currently comprises two families, Chlamydoselachidae (frilled sharks) and Hexanchidae (six- and seven-gill sharks), but its monophyly and relationships with other elasmobranchs are still discussed. Previous studies of hexanchiforms addressing these issues were based mainly on external morphology, teeth, skeletal features, and molecular data, whereas the employment of characters derived from variations in muscles has not been significantly explored. Dissections of four species of Hexanchiformes (including Chlamydoselachus anguineus) are reported here describing the mandibular (musculus adductor mandibulae dorsalis, m. adductor mandibulae ventralis, m. levator labii superioris, m. intermandibularis, and m. constrictor dorsalis) and hyoidean (m. constrictor hyoideus dorsalis and ventralis) arch muscles. Our results provide new data concerning the relationships of hexanchiforms to other elasmobranchs. The m. adductor mandibulae superficialis is described and illustrated in C. anguineus, contradicting previous accounts in which is was considered absent. The anteroposterior orientation of the m. adductor mandibulae superficialis in Chlamydoselachus is similar to the pattern found in hexanchids, squaloids, and hypnosqualeans (including batoids), suggesting it was secondarily lost in Echinorhinus. This muscle therefore provides further support for the inclusion of the Chlamydoselachidae and Hexanchidae in the Squalomorphi, and not basal to all other elasmobranchs or nested within an all-shark collective, as has been previously proposed. However, the m. adductor mandibulae superficialis originating at the jaw joint and with an aponeurotic insertion in hexanchids, squaliforms, and hypnosqualeans, may be a separate derived feature uniting these taxa. The insertion of the m. constrictor dorsalis is restricted to the postorbital articulation in hexanchids, whereas it extends farther anteriorly in C. anguineus. The insertion of the m. constrictor hyoideus dorsalis solely on the palatoquadrate is found exclusively in the Hexanchidae. We conclude that no specific pattern of mandibular or hyoid arch muscles support the monophyly of hexanchiforms (i.e., including Chlamydoselachus). J. Morphol., 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.