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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Orectolobiformes (carpet sharks)

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

Families in seas off southern Africa

Stegostomatidae (zebra sharks)

These sharks have a blunt, bulbous snout, small barbles, ridges on the sides of the body, and a broad, straight caudal fin as long as the body. There are small, three-cusped teeth in both jaws. One species: Stegostoma fasciatum (Zebra shark}.

Ginglymostomatidae (nurse sharks)

These sharks are characterized by a blunt, flattened, pig like snout, prominent barbles, and a broad, straight caudal fin less than half the body length. They have no body ridges. There are 3 species of which one is found in southern Africa: Nebrius ferrungineus (Giant sleepy shark).

Rhincodontidae (whale sharks)

These large pelagic sharks have a broad head, numerous, tiny, hooked teeth in both jaws, long gill slits, and strong ridges along the body and sides of tail. The caudal fin is forked and tuna-like. One species: Rhincodon typus (Whale shark).

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