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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Hemigaleidae (weasel sharks)

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

Small to moderate sized sharks with horizontal oval eyes, small spiracles, long labial furrows, precaudal pits, spiral intestinal valves, and large 2nd dorsal fins. All are placental live-bearers. 6 species, 3 in the area.

Families in southern Africa

Hemipristis elongatus (Snaggletooth shark)

A slender light grey or bronzy shark with a broadly rounded long snout, large curved saw-edged upper teeth, hooked lower teeth that protrude from its mouth, long gill slits, strongly curved fins, and no prominent markings.

Paragaleus leucolomatus (Whitefin weasel shark)

A slender dark grey shark with a long snout, large oval eyes, moderately long mouth with small serrated upper teeth, erect-cusped lower teeth, and prominent white tips on most of its fins. Underside white, 2nd dorsal black-tipped.

Paragaleus pectoralis (Atlantic weasel shark)

A slender shark with a moderately long snout, large oval eyes, short small mouth, small serrated upper teeth, erect-cusped lower teeth, and plain fins. Colour light grey or bronze with longitudinal yellow bands, white below.

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