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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Squaliformes (dogfish sharks)

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

These predominantly deep-water sharks have a short snout, cylindrical or compressed body, 5 pairs of gill slits, 2 dorsal fins (often with spines), and no anal fin. Some species are common inshore; all are live-bearers but lack a placenta. Over 83 living species, at least 27 in the area, in the families Echinorhinidae, Oxynotidae and Squalidae.

Families found in southern Africa

Echinorhinidae (bramble sharks)

Only one species recorded in Southern Africa: Echinorhinus brucus (Bramble shark)

Squalidae (dogfish sharks)

Centrophoridae (gulper sharks)

Etmopteridae (lantern sharks)

Somniosidae (sleeper sharks)

Oxynotidae (roughsharks)

Small, compressed, rough-skinned sharks with 2 spined, sail-like dorsal fins, strong abdominal keels, tiny mouths, and large, rough denticles. 5 species, 1 in our area: Oxynotus centrina (Flatiron shark)

Dalatiidae (kitefin sharks)

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