home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Carcharhiniformes (ground sharks)

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

Families in seas off southern Africa

Scyliorhinidae (cat sharks)

Small sharks with slit-like eyes, small teeth, and the 1st dorsal fin over or behind pelvic fins. Most lay eggs in elongated egg-cases, but some are livebearing. Over 103 species, with at least 15 in the area.

Proscylliidae (finback catsharks)

These resemble true catsharks (Scyliorhinidae) but have the 1st dorsal fin ahead of the pelvic fins. Six species, one in the area : Eridacnis sinuans (African ribbontail catshark)

Leptochariidae (barbeled houndsharks)

Only one species found in southern Africa: Leptocharias smithii (Barbeled houndshark)


Triakidae (houndsharks)

Small to moderate sized inshore sharks with oval eyes, long labial furrows, large spiracles, and no precaudal pits. All are live-bearers, and some have placentas. At least 34 species, 7 in the area.

Hemigaleidae (weasel sharks)

Small to moderate sized sharks with horizontal oval eyes, small spiracles, long labial furrows, precaudal pits, spiral intestinal valves, and large 2nd dorsal fins. All are placental live-bearers. 6 species, 3 in the area.

Carcharhinidae (requiem sharks)

Mostly large sharks with bladelike teeth, precaudal pits, a scroll intestinal valve, and usually round eyes, no spiracles, short labial furrows, and a small 2nd dorsal fin. Most are placental livebearers. 50 species, 21 in the area.

Sphyrnidae (hammerhead sharks)

These are the only sharks with an unmistakable hammer-shaped head. They are all live-bearing with a placenta. The family comprises 8 species, 3 of which occur in the area.

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