Home|Search|Identify|Taxonomic tree|Quiz|About this site|Feedback
Developed by ETI BioInformatics
Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
Synonyms and common names
Literature references
Images, audio and video
Links to other Web sites

Author: (Klunzinger, 1871)

Field Marks:
A moderately large, fairly slender shark with a broadly rounded (in dorsoventral view), moderately long snout, large lateral eyes with nictitating eyelids, small spiracles, long gill slits about three times eye length or more, long trapezoidal-parabolic mouth with truncated lower symphysis and prominently protruding lower teeth, upper teeth with distal cusplets andmesial serrations, lower teeth with extremely long, hooked cusps and cusplets and serrations at their bases, two spineless dorsal fins and an anal fin, second dorsal about 2/3 size of first, second dorsal origin somewhat ahead of anal origin, anal fin smaller than second dorsal and without extended preanal ridges, transverse, crescentic precaudal pits, and light grey or bronze colour with no prominent markings.

Diagnostic Features:
Snout broadly rounded in dorsoventral view; gill slits very long, 3 to 3.5 times the eye length in adults; mouth trapezoidal-parabolic and long, length 50 to 70% of its width; lower jaw truncated at symphysis; ends of upper labial furrows behind rear corners of eyes; a toothless space at midlines of both jaws; upper anterolateral teeth with serrated (smooth in young) mesial edges and short cusps; lower anterolateral teeth with very long, stout, strongly hooked cusps, and serrations and cusplets variably developed on the crown feet; lower crown feet and roots deeply arched, giving teeth an inverted Y shape; lower teeth protrude prominently when mouth is closed; tooth row counts 26 to 30/30 to 36, with 4 to 9 more lower rows than uppers. Fins strongly falcate, posterior margins of anal, second drosal, pectoral and pelvic fins deeply concave; second dorsal height 2/5 to slightly less than 3/5 of first dorsal height.

Geographical Distribution:
Indo-West Pacific: South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Aden, Red Sea, the "Gulf", Pakistan, India, Thailand, Viet Nam, China, Australia (Queensland, Western Australia), The Philippines.

Habitat and Biology:
A rare to common tropical coastal shark, inshore and offshore on the continental and insular shelves at depths of 1 to 30 m.

Viviparous, with a yolk-sac placenta; 6 to 8 young per litter.

Eats a variety of fishprey, including anchovies, sea catfish, Bombay ducks (Harpadon), mackeral, croakers, grey sharks (Carcharhinus) and butterfly rays (Gymnura). Thought to be potentially dangerous because of its large, fearsome teeth and shallow-water habitat, but never recorded in an attack on people.

Maximum from 230 to 240 cm; males adolescent at 73 to 106 cm and adult at 120 to 145 cm; females adult at 170 to 218 cm; size at birth about 45 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Regularly taken in artisanal fisheries in the Indian Ocean and western Pacific (including the Red Sea), especially off Pakistan, Indiaand Thailand. Caught with floating and fixed bottom gillnets, floating longlines, and probably on hook and line. Meat utilized fresh for human consumption, and in India considered one of the best sharks for food; liver processed for vitamins; fins used in the oriental sharkfin trade, and offal for fishmeal.

Type material:
Holotype: In Stuttgart Museum? Type Locality: Red Sea.

Snaggletooth shark (Hemipristis elongatus)