The snaggletooth shark, also known as the fossil shark, is a member of the weasel shark family, Hemigaleidae, and is the only extant species in the genus Hemipristis.
The snaggletooth shark is a coastal species found in the Indo-West Pacific. It gets its name from its saw edged teeth in the upper jaw and its protruding teeth in the lower.
Reproduction on this species occurs through aplacental viviparity, where females give birth to between 2 and 11 pups per litter after a gestation period of 7 to 8 months. The snaggletooth shark reproduces every other year. It has a fast growth and reaches maturity unusually early, in 2 to 3 years. Individuals can live up to 15 years of age.
The main threat to this species is over-fishing. It is often landed in coastal fisheries throughout its range as its meat, liver and fins are utilised. Although it can sustain relatively high levels of fishing due to its fast growth and early maturity, the high level of unregulated and unmanaged fisheries has drastically reduced these population.
Although there are no species specific conservation actions in place, in Australia this species is listed as Least Concern due to well-regulated fisheries. Regulation of fisheries in the rest of this species range should be a priority to prevent over exploitation.
- Order: Carcharhiniformes
- Family: Hemigaleidae
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: Up to 240cm (?)
- Depth Range (m): 130m
The snaggletooth shark is found in the Indo-West Pacific from South Africa to the Persian Gulf, and as far north as China to as far south as Australia.
Habitat and Ecology
The snaggletooth shark is found inshore on the continental shelf to a depth of 130m. It feeds on sharks, rays, fish and cephalopods.