Biodiversity

Saturday, March 24, 2007

SOUTH AFRICA SHARKBASE: SPECIES DESCRIPTIONS


 

Carcharodon carcharias


Full name and Author Carcharodon carcharias (Linnaeus, 1758).

Common name(s) Great white shark.



Bodyform Elongated.

Diagnosis A huge, spindle-shaped shark with conspicuous black eyes, a blunt, conical snout and large, triangular, saw-edged teeth (Ref. 5578). First dorsal-fin origin usually over the pectoral-fin inner margins. Caudal fin crescentic. Lead-grey to brown or black above, lighter on sides, and abruptly white below. Black spot at rear pectoral fin base.

Length (usual maximum) 7.2 metres.

Mass 3400 kg.

Depth range 1–1280 metres.

Colour Grey-blue.

Patterning Uniform.

Snout Conical.

Scales Placoid scales (denticles) present.

Tooth shape Large triangular, serrated on both sides.

Western longitudinal limit -180 degrees.

Eastern longitudinal limits 180 degrees.

Northern latitude limits 67 degrees.

Southern latitude limits -54 degrees.




Southern African distribution Entire Southern African Coast.

Freshwater tolerance Freshwater intolerant.

Biogeography Temperate waters; or Warm tropical waters; or Cold waters.

Habitats Coastal reefs; or Inshore; or Coral reefs; or Open ocean.

Food Seals; or Large fish; or Other sharks; or Sea birds (including penguins); or Medium-sized fish; or Squid.

Reproduction Live bearer (one to five).

Behaviour Aggressive, predatory.

Activity Both nocturnal and diurnal.

Social behaviour Usually solitary (exception when feeding).

Economic use Ecotourism including cage and night diving; or Unexploited.

Longevity 36 Years.

Minimum population doubling time 14 Years.

Population Status Uncommon.

Attack humans Yes.

Conservation Status Vulnerable.

Dorsal fins 2 count.

Dorsal spines 0 count.

Anal spines 0 count.

Synonyms Squalus carcharias Linnaeus, 1758 original combination; Carcharias lamia Rafinesque, 1810 junior synonym; Squalus lamia Blainville, 1816 questionable; Carcharias verus Cloquet, 1817 junior synonym; Squalus lamia Blainville, 1825 questionable; Carcharias rondeletti Bory de Saint-Vincent, 1829 other; Carcharias vulgaris (Richardson, 1836) junior synonym; Squalus vulgaris Richardson, 1836 junior synonym; Carcharodon smithi Bonaparte, 1838 junior synonym; Carcharodon smithii Agassiz, 1838 junior synonym; Carcharodon capensis Smith, 1839 junior synonym; Carcharodon rondeletii Müller & Henle, 1839 junior synonym; Carcharias atwoodi Storer, 1848 junior synonym; Carcharias vorax Owen, 1853 questionable; Carcharias maso Morris, 1898 junior synonym; Carcharodon albimors Whitley, 1939 junior synonym.

Global Distribution World-wide.

Gill clefts Five gill clefts.

Capitivy Non-captive.

Primary Reference Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/1):1-249.

Secondary reference Bass, A.J., 1986. Lamnidae. p. 98-100. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Scientific co-ordinator Compagno, Leonard J.V.



Carcharhinus leucas


Full name and Author Carcharhinus leucas (Müller & Henle, 1839).

Common name(s) Zambezi or bull shark.



Bodyform Elongated.

Diagnosis A massive shark with a short, broad and blunt snout, small eyes and triangular saw-edged upper teeth; and lack of interdorsal ridge are sufficient to distinguish this species. First dorsal fin broad and triangular and less than 3.2 times height of 2nd dorsal fin; no interdorsal ridge. Grayish above, white below; fins with dark tips, especially in young individuals.

Length (usual maximum) 3.5 metres.

Mass 316.5 kg.

Depth range 1–152 metres.

Colour Grey.

Patterning Uniform.

Snout Broad; or Rounded.

Scales Placoid scales (denticles) present.

Tooth shape Large triangular, serrated on both sides.

Western longitudinal limit -117 degrees.

Eastern longitudinal limits 155 degrees.

Northern latitude limits 42 degrees.

Southern latitude limits -39 degrees.




Southern African distribution Port Elizabeth to Zambezi River.

Freshwater tolerance Freshwater tolerate.

Biogeography Temperate waters; or Warm tropical waters.

Habitats Bottom dwelling; or Shallow sandy area; or Shallow rocky areas; or Coastal reefs; or Inshore; or Estuaries; or Coral reefs; or Open ocean.

Food Seals; or Dolphins/porpoises; or Turtles; or Large fish; or Other sharks; or Sea birds (including penguins); or Medium-sized fish; or Squid; or Crustaceans; or Octopuses; or Small fish; or Bottom dwelling small fish; or Bottom dwelling invertebrates; or Canibalism.

Reproduction Live bearer (approximately eight to ten).

Behaviour Aggressive, predatory.

Activity Both nocturnal and diurnal.

Social behaviour Usually in pairs.

Economic use Commercially exploited; or Used in subsistence fisheries; or Gamefish (recreational use).

Longevity 32 Years.

Minimum population doubling time 14 Years.

Population Status Fairly common.

Attack humans Yes.

Conservation Status Near Threatened.

Dorsal fins 2 count.

Dorsal spines 0 count.

Anal spines 0 count.

Synonyms Carcharhinus amboinensis (non Müller & Henle, 1839) misidentification; Carcharias leucas Müller & Henle, 1839 original combination; Carcharhinus leucas (Müller & Henle, 1839) new combination; Carcharias zambezensis Peters, 1852 junior synonym; Carcharhinus zambezensis (Peters, 1852) junior synonym; Prionodon platyodon Poey, 1860 junior synonym; Squalus platyodon (Poey, 1860) junior synonym; Squalus obtusus Poey, 1861 junior synonym; Carcharias brachyurus (non Günther, 1870) misidentification; Eulamia nicaraguensis Gill, 1877 junior synonym; Carcharhinus nicaraguensis (Gill, 1877) junior synonym; Carcharhinus azureus (Gilbert & Starks, 1904) junior synonym; Carcharias azureus Gilbert & Starks, 1904 junior synonym; Carcharias spenceri Ogilby, 1910 junior synonym; Galeolamna stevensi (non Ogilby, 1911) misidentification; Galeolamna bogimba Whitley, 1943 junior synonym; Galeolamna greyi mckaili Whitley, 1945 junior synonym; Galeolamna mckaili Whitley, 1945 junior synonym; Carharhinus vanrooyeni Smith, 1958 junior synonym; Carcharhinus vanrooyeni Smith, 1958 junior synonym.

Global Distribution Near world-wide.

Gill clefts Five gill clefts.

Capitivy Captive - non-breeding.

Primary Reference Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale, 1989. Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p.

Secondary reference Wetherbee, B.M., S.H. Gruber and E. Cortes, 1990. Diet, feeding habits, digestion, and consumption in sharks, with special reference to the lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris. p. 29-47. In: H.L. Pratt, Jr., S.H. Gruber and T. Taniuchi (eds.) Elasmobranchs as living resources: advances in the biology, ecology, systematics, and the status of the fisheries. NOAA Tech. Rep. NMFS 90. 517 p.

Scientific co-ordinator Compagno, Leonard J.V.



Carcharhinus obscurus


Full name and Author Carcharhinus obscurus (Lesueur, 1818).

Common name(s) Dusky shark.



Bodyform Elongated.

Diagnosis A large shark with a broadly rounded snout, triangular saw-edged upper teeth, curved moderate-sized pectoral fins, and an interdorsal ridge. Blue-grey, lead-grey above, white below; tips of pectoral and pelvic fins, as well as lower lobe of caudal fin and dorsal fins often dusky in young, plain in adults.

Length (usual maximum) 4.2 metres.

Mass 345.5 kg.

Depth range 1–400 metres.

Colour Dusky grey.

Patterning Uniform.

Snout Broad; or Rounded.

Scales Placoid scales (denticles) present.

Tooth shape Triangular, slanted and smooth.

Western longitudinal limit -120 degrees.

Eastern longitudinal limits -156 degrees.

Northern latitude limits 45 degrees.

Southern latitude limits -46 degrees.




Southern African distribution Cape Town to Zambezi.

Freshwater tolerance Freshwater intolerant.

Biogeography Temperate waters; or Warm tropical waters.

Habitats Coastal reefs; or Inshore; or Estuaries; or Coral reefs; or Open ocean.

Food Large fish; or Other sharks; or Sea birds (including penguins); or Medium-sized fish; or Squid; or Octopuses; or Small fish.

Reproduction Live bearer (approximately eight to ten).

Behaviour Aggressive, predatory.

Activity Both nocturnal and diurnal.

Social behaviour Often/usually in shoals.

Economic use Commercially exploited; or Used in subsistence fisheries; or Gamefish (recreational use).

Longevity 40 Years.

Minimum population doubling time 14 Years.

Population Status Fairly common.

Attack humans Rare incidents.

Conservation Status Near Threatened.

Dorsal fins 2 count.

Dorsal spines 0 count.

Anal spines 0 count.

Synonyms Squalus obscurus Lesueur, 1818 original combination; Eulamia obscura (Lesueur, 1818) new combination; Carcharinus obscurus (Lesueur, 1818) misspelling; Prionodon obvelatus Valenciennes, 1844 junior synonym; Galeolamna greyi Owen, 1853 questionable; Carcharhinus lamiella (non Jordan & Gilbert, 1882) misidentification; Carcharias macrurus Ramsay & Ogilby, 1887 junior synonym; Galeolamna macrurus (Ramsay & Ogilby, 1887) junior synonym; Galeolamna eblis Whitley, 1944 junior synonym; Carcharinus iranzae Fourmanoir, 1961 junior synonym; Carcharhinus iranzae Fourmanoir, 1961 junior synonym; Carcharhinus obscurella Deng, Xiong & Zhan, 1981 junior synonym.

Global Distribution World-wide.

Gill clefts Five gill clefts.

Capitivy Captive - non-breeding.

Primary Reference Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2 - Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/2):251-655.

Secondary reference Bass, A.J., P.C. Heemstra and L.J.V Compagno, 1986. Carcharhinidae. p. 67-87. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Scientific co-ordinator Compagno, Leonard J.V.



Galeocerdo cuvieri


Full name and Author Galeocerdo cuvier (Péron & Lesueur, 1822).

Common name(s) Tiger shark.



Bodyform Elongated.

Diagnosis A huge, vertical tiger-striped shark with a broad, bluntly rounded snout, long upper labial furrows, and a big mouth with large, saw-edged, cockscomb-shaped teeth; spiracles present; caudal keels low. Grey above with vertical dark grey to black bars and spots which appear faded in adults, white below.

Length (usual maximum) 7.4 metres.

Mass 807.4 kg.

Depth range 1–350 metres.

Colour Dark Grey.

Patterning Vertical dark bars.

Snout Blunt; or Broad.

Scales Placoid scales (denticles) present.

Tooth shape Backward pointing, curved saw-edged.

Western longitudinal limit -180 degrees.

Eastern longitudinal limits -180 degrees.

Northern latitude limits 62 degrees.

Southern latitude limits -42 degrees.




Southern African distribution Port Elizabeth to Zambezi River.

Freshwater tolerance Freshwater intolerant.

Biogeography Temperate waters; or Warm tropical waters.

Habitats Coastal reefs; or Inshore; or Coral reefs; or Open ocean.

Food Seals; or Dolphins/porpoises; or Turtles; or Large fish; or Other sharks; or Sea birds (including penguins); or Medium-sized fish; or Squid; or Crustaceans; or Octopuses; or Small fish; or Bottom dwelling small fish; or Bottom dwelling invertebrates; or Canibalism.

Reproduction Live bearer (20-50).

Behaviour Aggressive, predatory.

Activity Both nocturnal and diurnal.

Social behaviour Usually solitary (exception when feeding).

Economic use Commercially exploited; or Used in subsistence fisheries; or Gamefish (recreational use).

Longevity 50 Years.

Minimum population doubling time 4.5–14 Years.

Population Status Uncommon.

Attack humans Yes.

Conservation Status Near Threatened.

Dorsal fins 2 count.

Dorsal spines 0 count.

Anal spines 0 count.

Synonyms Galeocerda cuvier (Péron & Lesueur, 1822) misspelling; Squalus cuvier Péron & Lesueur, 1822 original combination; Galeocerdo cuvieri (Péron & Lesueur, 1822) misspelling; Squalus arcticus Faber, 1829 junior synonym; Galeocerdo arcticus (Faber, 1829) junior synonym; Galeus cepedianus Agassiz, 1838 junior synonym; Galeocerdo tigrinus Müller & Henle, 1839 junior synonym; Galeus maculatus Ranzani, 1840 junior synonym; Carcharias fasciatus Bleeker, 1852 junior synonym; Galeocerdo rayneri Macdonald & Barron, 1868 junior synonym; Carcharias hemprichii Klunzinger, 1871 junior synonym; Galeocerdo obtusus Klunzinger, 1871 junior synonym; Galeocerdo fasciatus van Kampen, 1907 other.

Global Distribution World-wide.

Gill clefts Five gill clefts.

Capitivy Poor captive.

Primary Reference Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2 - Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/2):251-655.

Secondary reference Randall, J.E., 1992. Review of the biology of the tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier). Aust. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 43(1):21-31.

Scientific co-ordinator Compagno, Leonard J.V.



Carcharias taurus


Full name and Author Carcharias taurus Rafinesque, 1810.

Common name(s) Ragged-tooth shark.




Bodyform Plump.

Diagnosis A shark with a short, pointed snout, small eyes, protruding spike-like teeth and small, equal-sized dorsal and anal fins; 1st dorsal fin closer to pelvic than to pectoral fins (Ref. 5578). Caudal fin with a pronounced subterminal notch and a short ventral lobe. Pale brown or grey, paler below, with dark spots that appear faded in adults; fins plain.

Length (usual maximum) 3.2 metres.

Mass 294 kg.

Depth range 1–191 metres.

Colour Brown.

Patterning Blotch marks.

Snout Pointed.

Scales Placoid scales (denticles) present.

Tooth shape Numerous rows of fang-like teeth.

Northern latitude limits 45 degrees.

Southern latitude limits 48 degrees.




Southern African distribution Cape Town to Zambezi.

Freshwater tolerance Freshwater intolerant.

Biogeography Temperate waters; or Warm tropical waters.

Habitats Bottom dwelling; or Coastal reefs; or Coral reefs.

Food Large fish; or Other sharks; or Medium-sized fish; or Squid; or Crustaceans; or Octopuses; or Small fish; or Bottom dwelling small fish; or Bottom dwelling invertebrates; or Canibalism.

Reproduction Live bearer (one to two) - embryonic cannibalism.

Behaviour Ambush predator.

Activity Both nocturnal and diurnal.

Social behaviour Usually solitary (exception when feeding).

Economic use Commercially exploited; or Used in subsistence fisheries; or Gamefish (recreational use).

Longevity 17 Years.

Minimum population doubling time 14 Years.

Population Status Fairly common.

Attack humans Rare incidents.

Conservation Status Vulnerable.

Dorsal fins 2 count.

Dorsal spines 0 count.

Anal spines 0 count.

Synonyms Odontaspis ferox (non Risso, 1810) misidentification; Carcharhinus taurus (Rafinesque, 1810) new combination; Charcharias taurus Rafinesque, 1810 misspelling; Odontaspis taurus (Rafinesque, 1810) new combination; Eugomphodus taurus (Rafinesque, 1810) new combination; Squalus americanus Mitchill, 1815 junior synonym; Odontaspis americanus (Mitchill, 1815) junior synonym; Squalus littoralis Lesueur, 1818 junior synonym; Squalus macrodus Mitchill, 1818 junior synonym; Carcharias griseus Ayres, 1843 junior synonym; Carcharias tricuspidatus (non Day, 1878) misidentification; Odontaspis cinerea Ramsay, 1880 other; Lamna ecarinata Hilgendorf, 1899 junior synonym; Odontaspis arenarius (Ogilby, 1911) junior synonym; Carcharias arenarius Ogilby, 1911 junior synonym; Carcharias owstoni Garman, 1913 junior synonym; Squalus lixa Larrañaga, 1923 other; Carcharias platensis (Lahille, 1928) junior synonym; Odontaspis platensis Lahille, 1928 junior synonym.

Global Distribution World-wide.

Gill clefts Five gill clefts.

Capitivy Captive breeding.

Primary Reference Bass, A.J. and L.J.V. Compagno, 1986. Odontaspididae. p. 104-105. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Secondary reference van der Elst, R.P. and F. Adkin (eds.), 1991. Marine linefish: priority species and research objectives in southern Africa. Oceanogr. Res. Inst., Spec. Publ. No.1. 132 p.

Scientific co-ordinator Compagno, Leonard J.V.



Sphyrna lewini


Full name and Author Sphyrna lewini (Griffith & Smith, 1834).




Common name(s) Scalloped hammerhead shark.

Bodyform Elongated.

Diagnosis A large hammerhead with a notch at the center of head; first dorsal fin moderately high, second dorsal and pelvic fins low. Front margin of head broadly arched with prominent median notch. Side wings of head narrow, rear margins swept backward. Uniform grey, grayish brown, or olivaceous above, shading to white below; pectoral fins tipped with grey or black ventrally.

Length (usual maximum) 4.3 metres.

Mass 152.39 kg.

Depth range 1–512 metres.

Colour Grey.

Patterning Uniform.

Snout Flattened.

Scales Placoid scales (denticles) present.

Tooth shape Triangular, slanted and smooth.

Western longitudinal limit -180 degrees.

Eastern longitudinal limits 180 degrees.

Northern latitude limits 46 degrees.

Southern latitude limits -36 degrees.




Southern African distribution Port Elizabeth to Zambezi River.

Freshwater tolerance Freshwater intolerant.

Biogeography Temperate waters; or Warm tropical waters.

Habitats Coastal reefs; or Coral reefs; or Open ocean.

Food Large fish; or Other sharks; or Medium-sized fish; or Squid; or Crustaceans; or Octopuses; or Small fish; or Bottom dwelling small fish; or Bottom dwelling invertebrates; or Canibalism.

Reproduction Live bearer (approximately 30).

Behaviour Aggressive, predatory.

Activity Diurnal.

Social behaviour Often/usually in shoals.

Economic use Commercially exploited; or Used in subsistence fisheries; or Gamefish (recreational use).

Longevity 35 Years.

Minimum population doubling time 4.5–14 Years.

Population Status Fairly common.

Attack humans No, but can be traumatogenic.

Conservation Status Near Threatened.

Dorsal fins 2 count.

Dorsal spines 0 count.

Anal spines 0 count.

Synonyms Sphyrna zygaena (non Linnaeus, 1758) misidentification; Zygaena malleus (non Shaw & Nodder, 1789) misidentification; Zygaena indica van Hasselt, 1823 junior synonym; Sphyrna leweni (Griffith & Smith, 1834) misspelling; Zygaena lewini Griffith & Smith, 1834 original combination; Sphyrna mokarran (non Rüppell, 1837) misidentification; Cestracion leeuwenii Day, 1865 junior synonym; Zygaena erythraea Klunzinger, 1871 junior synonym; Cestracion oceanica Garman, 1913 junior synonym; Sphyrna diplana Springer, 1941 junior synonym.

Global Distribution World-wide.

Gill clefts Five gill clefts.

Capitivy Poor captive.

Primary Reference Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2 - Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/2):251-655.

Secondary reference Wetherbee, B.M., S.H. Gruber and E. Cortes, 1990. Diet, feeding habits, digestion, and consumption in sharks, with special reference to the lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris. p. 29-47. In: H.L. Pratt, Jr., S.H. Gruber and T. Taniuchi (eds.) Elasmobranchs as living resources: advances in the biology, ecology, systematics, and the status of the fisheries. NOAA Tech. Rep. NMFS 90. 517 p.

Scientific co-ordinator Compagno, Leonard J.V.



Triaenodon obesus


Full name and Author Triaenodon obesus (Rüppell, 1837).

Common name(s) Whitetip reef shark.




Bodyform Elongated.

Diagnosis A small, slender shark with an extremely short, broad snout, oval eyes, and conspicuous white tips on the 1st dorsal (sometimes 2nd) and upper caudal fins; 2nd dorsal almost as large as 1st; no interdorsal ridge. Spiracles usually present, teeth 47-50/ 44-46, in at least 2 functional rows. Grey above, lighter below and sometimes with dark spots on sides. First dorsal-fin lobe and dorsal caudal-fin lobe with conspicuous white tips, second dorsal-fin lobe and ventral caudal-fin lobe often white-tipped.

Length (usual maximum) 2.13 metres.

Mass 18.3 kg.

Depth range 1–330 metres.

Colour Grey-brown.

Patterning White tip to dorsal and tail fins.

Snout Blunt; or Broad.

Scales Placoid scales (denticles) present.

Tooth shape Sharp, cusped and oblique.

Western longitudinal limit -77 degrees.

Eastern longitudinal limits 33 degrees.

Northern latitude limits 29 degrees.

Southern latitude limits -30 degrees.




Southern African distribution Sodwana to Zambezi.

Freshwater tolerance Freshwater intolerant.

Biogeography Warm tropical waters.

Habitats Coral reefs.

Food Other sharks; or Medium-sized fish; or Squid; or Crustaceans; or Octopuses; or Small fish.

Reproduction Live bearer (one to five).

Behaviour Aggressive, predatory.

Activity Nocturnal.

Social behaviour Usually solitary (exception when feeding).

Economic use Unexploited.

Longevity 25 Years.

Minimum population doubling time 14 Years.

Population Status Uncommon.

Attack humans Harmless.

Conservation Status Near Threatened.

Dorsal fins 2 count.

Dorsal spines 0 count.

Anal spines 0 count.

Synonyms Trianodon obesus (Rüppell, 1837) misspelling; Carcharias obesus Rüppell, 1837 original combination; Triaenodon apicalis Whitley, 1939 junior synonym.

Global Distribution Near world-wide.

Gill clefts Five gill clefts.

Capitivy Poor captive.

Primary Reference Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale, 1989. Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p.

Secondary reference Wetherbee, B.M., S.H. Gruber and E. Cortes, 1990. Diet, feeding habits, digestion, and consumption in sharks, with special reference to the lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris. p. 29-47. In: H.L. Pratt, Jr., S.H. Gruber and T. Taniuchi (eds.) Elasmobranchs as living resources: advances in the biology, ecology, systematics, and the status of the fisheries. NOAA Tech. Rep. NMFS 90. 517 p.

Scientific co-ordinator Compagno, Leonard J.V.




Poroderma pantherinum


Full name and Author Poroderma pantherinum (Müller & Henle, 1838).

Common name(s) Leopard catshark.







Bodyform Elongated.

Diagnosis A stocky shark with long nasal barbels and a highly variable color pattern of black spots, rings and lines in horizontal rows on a grey to whitish background; white below. There are 3 different forms, the typical 'pantherinum' with lines and rosettes of spots, and two extreme forms, 'marleyi' with large dark spots (formerly considered a separate species), and 'salt and pepper' with small, densely packed black spots, intermediates between these extremes are extremely common.

Length (usual maximum) 0.73–0.84 metres.

Depth range 1–256 metres.

Colour Dark Grey.

Patterning Spots and stripes; or Dark spots.

Snout Rounded.

Scales Placoid scales (denticles) present.

Tooth shape Small, pointed and tricuspid.

Western longitudinal limit 17 degrees.

Eastern longitudinal limits 32 degrees.

Northern latitude limits -28 degrees.

Southern latitude limits -36 degrees.




Southern African distribution St Helena Bay to Durban.

Freshwater tolerance Freshwater intolerant.

Biogeography Temperate waters; or Cold waters.

Habitats Bottom dwelling; or Shallow rocky areas; or Coastal reefs; or Inshore.

Food Octopuses; or Small fish; or Bottom dwelling small fish; or Bottom dwelling invertebrates.

Reproduction Egg cases (usually two).

Behaviour Shy.

Activity Nocturnal.

Social behaviour Usually solitary (exception when feeding).

Economic use Gamefish (recreational use).

Longevity 10 Years.

Minimum population doubling time 4.5–14 Years.

Population Status Uncommon.

Attack humans Harmless.

Conservation Status South African endemic; or Least Concern.

Dorsal fins 2 count.

Dorsal spines 0 count.

Anal spines 0 count.

Synonyms Scyllium leopardinum Müller & Henle, 1838 other.

Global Distribution Southeast Atlantic; or Southern Atlantic-Indian transition; or Southwest Indian.

Gill clefts Spiracle.

Capitivy Captive breeding.

Primary Reference Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale, 1989. Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p.

Secondary reference Branch, G.M., Griffiths, C.L., Branch, M.L., and Beck, L.E., 1994. Two Oceans: A guide to the marine lif of southern Africa. David Philip, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Scientific co-ordinator Compagno, Leonard J.V.



Poroderma africanum


Full name and Author Poroderma africanum (Gmelin, 1789).

Common name(s) Pyjama catshark.




Bodyform Elongated.

Diagnosis A large catshark with short nasal barbels and long horizontal black stripes.

Length (usual maximum) 1 metres.

Mass 5 kg.

Depth range 1–130 metres.

Colour Dark Grey.

Patterning Longitudinal stripes.

Snout Pointed.

Scales Placoid scales (denticles) present.

Tooth shape Small, pointed and tricuspid.

Western longitudinal limit 17 degrees.

Eastern longitudinal limits 32 degrees.

Northern latitude limits -28 degrees.

Southern latitude limits -36 degrees.




Southern African distribution St Helena Bay to Durban.

Freshwater tolerance Freshwater intolerant.

Biogeography Temperate waters.

Habitats Bottom dwelling; or Shallow sandy area; or Shallow rocky areas; or Inshore.

Food Octopuses; or Small fish; or Bottom dwelling small fish; or Bottom dwelling invertebrates; or Canibalism.

Reproduction Egg cases (usually two).

Behaviour Shy.

Activity Nocturnal.

Social behaviour Usually solitary (exception when feeding).

Economic use Used in subsistence fisheries; or Gamefish (recreational use).

Longevity 10 Years.

Minimum population doubling time 4.5–14 Years.

Population Status Fairly common.

Attack humans No, but can be traumatogenic.

Conservation Status South African endemic; or Near Threatened.

Dorsal fins 2 count.

Dorsal spines 0 count.

Anal spines 0 count.

Synonyms Scyllium africanum (Gmelin, 1789) new combination; Squalus africanus Gmelin, 1789 original combination; Conoporoderma africanum (Gmelin, 1789) new combination; Squalus vittatus Shaw, 1798 junior synonym; Squalus striatus Forster, 1844 junior synonym.

Global Distribution Southeast Atlantic; or Southern Atlantic-Indian transition; or Southwest Indian.

Gill clefts Spiracle.

Capitivy Captive breeding.

Primary Reference Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale, 1989. Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p.

Secondary reference Branch, G.M., Griffiths, C.L., Branch, M.L., and Beck, L.E., 1994. Two Oceans: A guide to the marine lif of southern Africa. David Philip, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Scientific co-ordinator Compagno, Leonard J.V.



Haploblepharus edwardsii


Full name and Author Haploblepharus edwardsii (Voigt, 1832).

Common name(s) Puffadder shyshark.




Bodyform Elongated.

Diagnosis Southeastern Cape form: sandy brown with 7 reddish-brown saddles bordered by black, and numerous small, dark brown and white spots between saddles; white below. Natal form: body cream in color with darker brown saddles and irregular white spots; white below.

Length (usual maximum) 0.6 metres.

Mass 5 kg.

Depth range 1–130 metres.

Colour Yellow-brown; or Brown.

Patterning Dark saddles over dorsal surface.

Snout Round to pointed.

Scales Placoid scales (denticles) present.

Tooth shape Narrow pointed cusps.

Western longitudinal limit 17 degrees.

Eastern longitudinal limits 32 degrees.

Northern latitude limits -28 degrees.

Southern latitude limits -36 degrees.




Southern African distribution Cape Town to Durban.

Freshwater tolerance Freshwater intolerant.

Biogeography Temperate waters.

Habitats Bottom dwelling; or Shallow sandy area; or Shallow rocky areas; or Inshore.

Food Octopuses; or Bottom dwelling small fish; or Bottom dwelling invertebrates.

Reproduction Egg cases (usually two).

Behaviour Shy.

Activity Nocturnal.

Social behaviour Usually solitary (exception when feeding).

Economic use Gamefish (recreational use).

Longevity 10 Years.

Minimum population doubling time 4.5–14 Years.

Population Status Very Common.

Attack humans Harmless.

Conservation Status South African endemic; or Least Concern.

Dorsal fins 2 count.

Dorsal spines 0 count.

Anal spines 0 count.

Synonyms Scyllium edwardsii Voigt, 1832 original combination.

Global Distribution Southern Atlantic-Indian transition.

Gill clefts Spiracle.

Capitivy Captive breeding.

Primary Reference Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2 - Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/2):251-655.

Secondary reference Branch, G.M., Griffiths, C.L., Branch, M.L., and Beck, L.E., 1994. Two Oceans: A guide to the marine lif of southern Africa. David Philip, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Scientific co-ordinator Compagno, Leonard J.V.



Haploblepharus pictus


Full name and Author Haploblepharus pictus (Müller & Henle, 1838).

Common name(s) Dark shyshark; Donker skaamoog; Skaamhaai.




Bodyform Elongated.

Diagnosis A shyshark with dark markings with large light spots without black edges on a yellowish-brown body and on fins; body also with 7 dark brown or blackish dorsal saddles.

Length (usual maximum) 0.57 metres.

Mass 5 kg.

Depth range 1–130 metres.

Colour Brown.

Patterning Dark saddles over dorsal surface.

Snout Blunt; or Rounded.

Scales Placoid scales (denticles) present.

Tooth shape Narrow pointed cusps.

Western longitudinal limit 16 degrees.

Eastern longitudinal limits 20 degrees.

Northern latitude limits -29 degrees.

Southern latitude limits -36 degrees.




Southern African distribution Northern Namibia to Port Elizabeth.

Freshwater tolerance Freshwater intolerant.

Biogeography Cold waters.

Habitats Bottom dwelling; or Shallow sandy area; or Shallow rocky areas; or Inshore.

Food Bottom dwelling invertebrates.

Reproduction Egg cases (usually two).

Behaviour Shy.

Activity Nocturnal.

Social behaviour Usually solitary (exception when feeding).

Economic use Gamefish (recreational use).

Longevity 10 Years.

Minimum population doubling time 4.5–14 Years.

Population Status Very Common.

Attack humans Harmless.

Conservation Status Southern African endemic; or Least Concern.

Dorsal fins 2 count.

Dorsal spines 0 count.

Anal spines 0 count.

Synonyms Scyllium pictum Müller & Henle, 1838 original combination.

Global Distribution Southeast Atlantic; or Southern Atlantic-Indian transition.

Gill clefts Spiracle.

Capitivy Captive breeding.

Primary Reference Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2 - Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/2):251-655.

Secondary reference Bianchi, G., K.E. Carpenter, J.-P. Roux, F.J. Molloy, D. Boyer and H.J. Boyer, 1993. FAO species identification field guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of Namibia. FAO, Rome. 250 p.

Scientific co-ordinator Compagno, Leonard J.V.



Callorhinchus capensis


Full name and Author Callorhinchus capensis (Duméril, 1865).

Common name(s) St Joseph shark; Cape elephantfish.




Bodyform Elongated.

Diagnosis An elephant fish or St Joseph shark with a hoe-like snout and arched caudal fin. Silvery all over. Scaleless with a single dorsal spine.

Length (usual maximum) 1.22 metres.

Mass 5.25 kg.

Depth range 10–374 metres.

Colour Silvery.

Patterning Uniform.

Snout Trunk-like.

Scales Scales absent.

Tooth shape Plate-like.

Western longitudinal limit 16 degrees.

Eastern longitudinal limits 32 degrees.

Northern latitude limits -16 degrees.

Southern latitude limits -35 degrees.




Southern African distribution Swakopmund to Durban.

Freshwater tolerance Freshwater tolerate.

Biogeography Temperate waters; or Cold waters.

Habitats Bottom dwelling; or Shallow sandy area; or Inshore; or Open ocean.

Food Bottom dwelling small fish; or Bottom dwelling invertebrates.

Reproduction Egg cases - hairy and spindle shaped.

Behaviour Shy.

Activity Diurnal.

Social behaviour Often/usually in shoals.

Economic use Commonly commercially exploited; or Gamefish (recreational use).

Longevity 10 Years.

Minimum population doubling time 4.5–14 Years.

Population Status Fairly common.

Attack humans No, but can be traumatogenic.

Conservation Status Least Concern.

Dorsal fins 2 count.

Dorsal spines 1 count.

Anal spines 0 count.

Synonyms Callorhynchus antarcticus (non Fleming, 1822) misidentification; Callorynchus capensis (Duméril, 1865) misspelling;.

Global Distribution Southeast Atlantic; or Southern Atlantic-Indian transition.

Gill clefts Spiracle.

Capitivy Captive - non-breeding.

Primary Reference Krefft, G., 1990. Callorynchidae. p. 117. In J.C. Quero, J.C. Hureau, C. Karrer, A. Post and L. Saldanha (eds.) Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic (CLOFETA). JNICT, Lisbon; SEI, Paris; and UNESCO, Parisl. Vol. 1.

Secondary reference Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale, 1989. Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p.

Scientific co-ordinator Unknown.

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