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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Triakidae (houndsharks)

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

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.

Families in southern Africa

Galeorhinus galeus (Tope shark or soupfin)

A houndshark with a long, pointed snout, large mouth, bladelike small teeth, a small 2nd dorsal fin about as large as anal fin, and a terminal caudal lobe as long as rest of fin. Colour greyish above, white below, young with black markings on fins.

Hypogaleus hyugaensis (Blacktip tope)

A slender houndshark with a long broadly pointed snout, large oval eyes, bladelike teeth, a 2nd dorsal fin larger than anal fin, and terminal caudal lobe shorter than the rest of fin. Colour grey or brown above, underside lighter, young with black-tipped fins.

Mustelus mosis (Arabian smoothhound)

A smoothhound with no spots and often a white-tipped 1st dorsal fin. Adults have a hard, bonelike growth imbedded in their snouts, lacking in other smoothhounds, that can be readily felt by pinching it. Colour uniform grey or grey-brown above, white below.

Mustelus mustelus (Smoothhound)

A large plain or black-spotted smoothhound, underside white.

Mustelus palumbes (Whitespot smoothhound)

A grey smoothhound with a line of small white spots on its body, underside white.

Scylliogaleus quecketti (Flapnose houndshark)

A blunt-nosed houndshark with large fused nasal flaps similar to those of shysharks (pp. 48-49), small, blunt, pebble-like teeth, and 2nd dorsal fin as large as 1st. Colour gray above, cream below, newborn with white rear edges on dorsal, anal and caudal fin.

Triakis megalopterus (Spotted gully shark)

Similar to smoothhounds (Mustelus) but with a broad blunt snout, large mouth with pointed small teeth, more massive body, larger fins, and short, heavy caudal peduncle. Colour grey or bronzy above, white below, usually with numerous small black spots; newborn young and some adults are spotless or have few spots.

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