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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Lamnidae (mackeral sharks)

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

Large pelagic sharks with large teeth, conical heads, long gill openings, and tuna-like caudal fins with strong caudal keels. 5 species, 3 in the area.

Species found in Southern Africa

Carcharodon carcharias (Great white shark)

A huge, spindle-shaped shark with small conspicuous black eyes, blunt conical snout, and large, triangular, saw-edged teeth. Colour lead grey to brown or black above, lighter on sides, abruptly white below, a black spot at rear pectoral base.

Isurus oxyrinchus (Shortfin mako)

A large spindle-shaped shark with a sharp snout, large black eyes, and large, narrow, hooked, smooth-edged teeth. Colour brilliant blue above and on sides, abruptly white below.

Isurus paucus (Longfin mako)


Lamna nasus (Porbeagle shark)

A stout, spindle-shaped shark with large black eyes, a sharp conical snout, and small, smooth-edged, narrow cusped teeth with side cusps. Colour dark blue-grey or grey-black above, white below, with rear tip of 1st dorsal abruptly white.

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