The tope shark Galeorhinus galeus.
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|Scientific Name: ||Galeorhinus zyopterus
|Englisch: ||Tope shark, Soupfin shark, School shark
This is a typical houndshark or tope shark with almond-shaped eyes and a long snout. The
second dorsal fin is considerably smaller than the first and is about the same size as the
anal fin which lies immediately opposite.
The shark's upper body is bronze to taupe-colored and its belly is pale white.
Houndsharks are active and fast swimmers who prefer to stay mainly in coastal regions. They
also live partly pelagic, but not oceanic , preferring waters between 2 and approx. 470
meters deep. Often swimming in schools, they demonstrate highly migratory behavior and have
been proven to master distances of 2,500 km. Observations have shown that outside the
mating season, males and females prefer to live separately.
Pregnant females swim in very shallow coastal regions to drop their young who usually
remain there for a year or two.
These sharks reach a maximum size of 195 cm, except for animals found near Australia who
are somewhat smaller with 175 cm.
Houndsharks have a broad food spectrum, preferring bony fish such as herring, sardines and
codfish. In addition to feeding on freely swimming fish and those who live on the ocean
floor, they also eat crabs and other invertebrates.
Houndsharks bear their young alive and have no placenta (ovoviviparous). Their litters can
range from 6 and 52 pups, but are usually between 20 and 35. The pups are 30 to 40 cm long
at birth. Males reach sexual maturity around age 8 (with a body length of 120 to 170 cm),
and females at age 11 (with a body length of 130 to 185 cm). Their life span is said to be
about 55 years.
Southwestern Atlantic: south of Brazil to Argentina. Eastern Atlantic: Iceland, Norway,
Faeroe Islands and Great Britain. Entire Mediterranean area. Senegal, it is questionable if
it is found further south along the Western coast of Africa, certainly however in South
Africa. Western South Pacific: Australia (western and southern regions), New Zealand.
Central Pacific: Laysan Islands. Eastern Pacific: British Columbia to southern Baja
California, Peru and Chile.
Their very typical shape makes them easily recognizable and not likely to be confused with
Due to their maximum size of less than two meters, tope sharks pose no threat to humans.
As the English translation of their name "soupfin shark" already suggests, many houndshark
populations are endangered because they are strongly overfished. The soupfin shark in
California, for example, has been practically wiped out.
May be published only by indicating the source: Shark Info