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the web of life in southern Africa

Notorynchus cepedianus (Spotted sevengill shark)

(Peron, 1807)

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

Notorynchus cepedianus (Spotted sevengill shark) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]


A large inshore 7-gilled cowshark with a broad, blunt head, small eyes, and numerous small black spots on body and fins. Colour reddish-brown to silvery-grey or olive-grey above, cream below, without a light line along body; eyes do not glow bright green. Individuals rarely lack black spots, and some have small light spots caused by fungus disease.


To 3.0 m TL.


Namibia to East London; elsewhere in most temperate seas.



Inshore on the shelf, from the surfline to 80 m, often near bottom but rising to surface.


Abundant along the west coast. Feeds on anything edible, including other sharks, rays, chimaeras, bony fish, hagfish, dolphin and porpoise meat, seals, shark egg cases, sea snails, and mammalian carrion including humans and rats.

Human Impact

Potentially dangerous. Excellent eating but little-utilized here.

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