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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Lamniformes (mackeral sharks)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Chondrichthyes > Elasmobranchii > Galeomorphii

Families in seas off southern Africa

Mitsukurinidae (goblin sharks)

These deep-water sharks are unmistakable, having a blade-like snout, protrusible jaws with needle-like teeth and a ling caudal fin without precaudle pits. There is one species found in Southern Africa: Mitsukrina owstoni (Goblin Sharks)

Odontaspididae (sand tiger sharks, raggedtooths)

Large bulky sharks with pointed snouts, upper precaudal pits only, and asymmetrical caudal fins without keels. 3 or 4 species, 2 in the area.

Pseudocarchariidae (crocodile sharks)

One species: Pseudocarcharias kamoharai (Crocodile shark).

Megachasmidae (megamouth sharks)

One species: Megachasma pelagios (Megamouth shark)


Alopiidae (thresher sharks)

These active, large-eyed, pelagic sharks have small mouths, minute second dorsal and anal fins, and curved caudal fins as long as their bodies that are used like whips to herd and stun their prey. 3 species, all in the area.

Cetorhinidae (basking sharks)

One species: Cetorhinus maximus (Basking shark).

Lamnidae (mackeral sharks)

Large pelagic sharks with large teeth, conical heads, long gill openings, and tuna-like caudal fins with strong caudal keels. 5 species, 3 in the area, including Carcharodon carcharias (Great white shark).

Text by Leonard J.V. Compagno, David A. Ebert and Malcolm J. Smale