Galeorhinus galeus (Tope shark or soupfin)

(Linnaeus, 1758)

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

Galeorhinus galeus (Tope shark or soupfin) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]


A houndshark with a long, pointed snout, large mouth, bladelike small teeth, a small 2nd dorsal fin about as large as anal fin, and a terminal caudal lobe as long as rest of fin. Colour greyish above, white below, young with black markings on fins.


To 1.9 m TL.


West and southeast coast, southern Namibia to East London; widespread in most temperate seas.



Coastal and preferring cool temperate waters, from the surfline and shallow bays down to the uppermost slope at 299 m, near the bottom or well above.


Common along the Cape coasts. Bears 6 to 52 young, which lack a placenta; gives birth in bays and lagoons. Eats a wide variety of pelagic and bottom bony fish, including hake, snoek, mackerel, maasbanker, pipefish, saury, anchovy, sardines, redeye herring, lightfish, beaked sandfish, jacopever, gurnard, dragonet, rattails, kingklip, monkfish, and remoras, but also cuttlefish, squid, octopi, crabs, hermit crabs, and mantis shrimp.

Human Impact

It is commonly taken by sports anglers, by bottom trawlers, and by commercial line-fishing boats, and its meat is commercially marked dried-salted as biltong (jerky).

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

  Iziko Museums of Cape Town, 2008

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