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the web of life in southern Africa

Callorhinchus capensis (St. Joseph)

Duméril, 1865

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Chondrichthyes > Holocephalii > Chimaeriformes > Callorhinchidae

Callorhinchus capensis (St. Joseph) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ©]


The hoelike snout of this silvery or bronzy chimaera make it unmistakable. Brown markings on the flanks and head, fin webs brown.


To 1.2 m.


Virtually the entire coast from Namibia to Natal. Endemic.


Bottom-dwelling, from close inshore and in shallow bays to 374 m on the slope.


Abundant off the west coast and southeastern Cape but uncommon off Natal. Eats sea urchins, bivalves, shrimp, crabs, mantis shrimp, isopods, gastropods, and small fish (dragonets). Probably lays one egg per oviduct at a time, these spindle-shaped and with broad flat ribbed fins on their sides.

Human Impact

Caught by bottom trawlers, by linefishing boats, by sports anglers, and by a directed gillnet fishery from St. Helena Bay. Excellent eating and marketed locally for human consumption.

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