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the web of life in southern Africa

Heterodontus ramalheira (Whitespotted bullhead shark)

(Smith, 1949)

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

Heterodontus ramalheira (Whitespotted bullhead shark) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]


The only shark in the area combining 2 spined dorsal fins and an anal fin. Colour dark reddish brown with numerous small white spots.


To 83 cm TL.


East coast, Natal and southern Mozambique; elsewhere from off the Arabian Peninsula.




Outer shelf and uppermost slope; unusual for the family in being a deepwater species found at 108 to 275 m.


A rare, little-known bottom shark that eats crabs. Human Impact Occasionally caught by bottom trawlers.

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