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the web of life in southern Africa

Carcharias taurus (Spotted raggedtooth)

Rafinesque, 1810

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

Carcharias taurus (Spotted raggedtooth) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]


A large, brownish, heavy-bodied shark with a short pointed snout, small eyes, protruding spikelike teeth, and small equal-sized dorsal and anal fins. 1st dorsal closer to pelvic fins than pectorals. Lighter below, often with reddish spots on sides.


To 3.2 m TL.


Entire coast from Namibia to Mozambique; Atlantic, Indian and Western Pacific Oceans.


Shelf and coastal, from the surfline down to 191 m, off sandy beaches, in shallow bays, and on coral and rocky reefs.


Common in temperate and tropical waters of the east coast, rare and sporadic on the west coast. Bears 2 young. Eats bony fish, sharks, rays, squid, crabs, and lobsters.

Human Impact

The `raggie' is usually harmless and rarely bites divers and bathers, but readily steals speared fish from divers. Minimally used here for meat and fins, commonly caught by the Natal anti-shark nets.

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