Instructions

Follow the path of questions to identify your shark.

Use the diagram to the right as a reference for shark anatomy.

Once you have identified your species, click on the species name to learn more!

Shark taxonomy is constantly evolving, so please update us with any changes!


Anal Fin Present?
Flat body?

Squantiniformes - Angel Sharks

1a. Anterior nasal barbels bifurcated or strongly fringed; posterior margin of anterior nasal flaps between nasal barbels and tip moderately to strongly fringed

2a. Upper surface of body with large brown ocelli in addition to small light spots
3a. Nasal barbels and anterior nasal flaps strongly fringed. A few large spines on snout and above eyes. Pectoral fins more rounded
Squatina tergocellata
3b. Nasal barbels weakly fringed, anterior nasal flaps moderately fringed. Numerous small spines present on snout and above eyes. Pectoral fins more angular
Squatina tergocellatoides
2b. Upper surface of body without large brown ocelli, but usually with white spots
4a. Large spines present on midline of back and tail from head to dorsal fins and between the fin bases. Dermal folds on sides of head with prominent triangular lobes. Fringes on anterior nasal flaps very strong and deep
Squatina aculeata
4b. Spines on midline of back small or absent. Dermal folds on sides of head without triangular lobes. Fringes on anterior nasal flaps moderately deep
5a. Anterior nasal barbel weakly bifurcate. First dorsal fin usually well behind free rear tips of pelvic fins. Dermal denticles of back with three ridges
Squatina oculata
5b. Anterior nasal barbel strongly fringed. First dorsal fin with origins about opposite free rear tips of pelvic fins. Dermal denticles of back without ridges
Squatina australis

1b. Anterior nasal barbels simple; posterior margins of anterior nasal flaps between barbels and tips smooth to weakly fringed

6a. Dermal folds on sides of head with two lobes at and in front of mouth corner
Squatina nebulosa
6b. Dermal folds on sides of head with a single lobe or none
7a. Dermal folds on sides of head with a triangular lobe
Squatina squatina
7b. Dermal folds on sides of head without lobes
8a. Distance from eye to spiracle about twice eye diameter
Squatina argentina
8b. Distance from eye to spiracle less than 1.5 times eye diameter
9a. Anterior nasal barbel with a broad, spatulate tip
10a. Free rear tips of pectoral fins broadly rounded, posterior margin nearly straight, inner margin strongly convex
Squatina japonica
10b. Free rear tips of pectoral fins subangular, posterior margin concave, inner margin slightly convex
Squatina californica
9b. Anterior nasal barbel with a narrow, tapering tip
11a. Free rear tips of pectoral fins narrowly subangular. Mid-dorsal spines enlarged, especially in young
Squatina dumeril
11b. Free rear tips of pectoral fins broadly angular. Mid-dorsal spines hardly enlarged
Squatina africana
Number of gill slits and dorsal fins?

Hexanchiformes - Frilled and Cow Sharks

A. Found globally. Elongated and eel-like body; mouth nearly terminal on head; 3- cusped teeth in upper and lower jaws

Chlamydoselachus anguineus

B. Found in South Africa. Visually similar to Chlamydoselachus anguineus. Elongated and eel-like body; mouth nearly terminal on head; 3- cusped teeth in upper and lower jaws

Chlamydoselachus africanus

C. Stouter body and less eel-like; mouth subterminal on head; high, longcusped teeth in upper law, larger, comblike teeth in lower jaw


Fin spine present?

Hexanchidae - Cow Sharks

1. Six pairs of gill openings

A. Short, blunt, and broad snout; Dorsal fin base separated from upper caudal fin origin by a distance about equal to or slightly greater than its length. Very large, up to 4.7 m total length
Hexanchus griseus
B. Longer, pointed, and narrow snout; dorsal fin base separated from upper caudal fin origin by a distance much greater than its length. Smaller, up to 1.8 m total length
Hexanchus nakamurai

2. Seven pairs of gill openings

2a. Very large eyes, head extremely narrow and pointed; comblike lower teeth long and low, with a short cusplet Plain body color without spots; Smaller size, about 1.4 m in length
Heptranchias perlo
2b. Small eyes, head broad and rounded; comblike lower teeth high and short, with a set of serrations. Body usually has scattered small black spots and sometimes white spots. Larger size, about 2.9 m in length
Notorynchus cepediamus
Elongated, sawlike snout?

Pristiophorifomes - Saw Sharks

1. Six pairs of gill openings

Pliotrema warreni

2. Five pairs of gill openings

2a. Brownish grey body characterized by bilateral symmetry with a flattened head and body with a long and thin saw-like rostrum. Preoral snout about a third of body length. A pair of barbels are located halfway down the rostrum
Pristiophorus schroederi
2b. Rostrum relatively short and broad, distance from rostrum tip to barbels much greater than distance from barbels to mouth; dorsal and pectoral fins partially naked in large specimens
Pristiophorus nudipinnis
2c. Rostrum long and narrower, distance from rostrum tip to barbels about equal or slightly greater than distance from barbels to mouth. Dorsal and pectoral fins covered with denticles in large specimens
Pristiophorus cirratus
First dorsal fin origin in front of pelvic fin origin?
Body shape and dorsal fin position?

Oxynotus - Rough Sharks

1. First dorsal fin spine inclined backward; colour blackish or dark brown

Oxynotus paradoxus

2. First dorsal fin spine inclined forward. Colour either light grey-brown or variegated, with dark and light bands

2a. Spiracle large and vertically elongated, supraorbital ridges greatly expanded posteriorly, forming a rounded knob just in front of spiracle on each side covered with enlarged denticles
Oxynotus centrina
2b. Apices of dorsal fins broadly triangular, posterior margins straight or weakly concave. Colour uniform grey-brown, without prominent markings
Oxynotus bruniensis
2c. Apices of dorsal fins narrowly triangular, posterior margins strongly concave. Color pattern of dark bands on a light background
Oxynotus caribbaeus
Fin spines present on both dorsal fins?


A. Cusplets absent from most teeth in both jaws, when present very small. Fin spines very short
Aculeola nigra
B. Cusplets present and prominent on most teeth. Fin spines, especially that of second dorsal fin, relatively long
C. Anterior nasal flaps with elongated barbels, reaching mouth
D Anterior nasal flaps without elongated barbels, not reaching mouth
E. Upper teeth with cusplets in addition to a cusp
F. Preoral snout length greater than distance from mouth to pectoral origins. Dermal denticles of back with tall, slender pedicels and pitchfork-shaped crowns
G. Upper teeth relatively broad, bladelike,lowers low and wide. Rear tips of pectoral fins short and angular to elongated and acutely pointed
H. Lower teeth with relatively low, more or less oblique cusps
I. Lower teeth with relatively high, more less erect cusps

Gill openings uniform width and second dorsal fin origin over or in front of of pelvic fin origin?

Gill openings increasing in width posteriorly with a very wide fifth gill opening. Pectoral fin inner margin and free rear tip greatly expanded and lobate. Second dorsal fin origin anterior to pelvic origins
Euprotomicroides zantedeschia
First dorsal fin origin well ahead of pelvic fin origins?

Second dorsal base at least twice as long as first dorsal base. Upper caudal lobe shortened, caudal fin paddle-shaped?

A. First dorsal fin with a spine (sometimes concealed by skin); very small body (about 22cm) with larger eyes. fin closer to pectoral bases than to pelvic bases. Second dorsal base about twice as long as first dorsal base. Snout more elongated and pointed, snout length about half length of head
Squaliolus laticaudus
B. First dorsal fin with a spine; very small body (about 22cm) with a small eye. Dark brown to black body color
Squaliolus aliae
C. First dorsal fin spineless; fin closer to pelvic bases than to pectoral bases. Second dorsal base about four times as long as first dorsal base. Snout shorterand more bluntly rounded, snout length about 2/5 of head length
Euprotomicrus bispinatus
A. Preoral snout very short, less than 1/3 of head length. Lips thick and pleated Lower teeth with strongly serrated edges. Caudal fin with weak ventral lobe
Dalatias licha
B. Preoral snout longer, more than 1/3 of head length. Lips thin and not pleated. Lower teeth either with smooth or weakly serrated (some Somniosus sp.) edges. Caudal fin with a strong ventral lobe

A. Preoral snout as long as distance from mouth to 5th gill openings or longer. First dorsal insertion over pectoral bases
Heteroscymnoides marleyi
B. Preoral snout shorter than distance from mouth to 5th gill openings. First dorsal insertion clearly behind pectoral bases


A. Lower teeth with high, erect cusps. Ventral caudal margin half as long as dorsal caudal margin. Eyes horizontally elongated
Scymnodalatias sherwoodi
B. Lower teeth with low, oblique cusps. Ventral caudal margin about 2/3 as long as dorsal caudal margin. Eyes nearly circular

Echinorhindae - Bramble Sharks

1a. Denticles of body numerous, close-packed, relatively small, stellate, and not fused into plates with multiple cusps

Echinorhinus cookei
1b. Denticles of body few, sparse, relatively large, not stellate, and with some fused into plates with multiple cusps
Echinorhinus brucus

Centroscyllium

1a. Colour grey-brown above, with striking black markings on undersides of head, abdomen, and pectoral fins, and sides of tail

Centroscyllium ritteri

1b. Colour blackish or blackish-brown above and below, without black markings on underside of body or sides of tail

2a. Rear tips of pectoral fins ending well anterior to origin of first dorsal spine. Distance between pectoral and pelvic bases much greater than head length
3a. Caudal peduncle elongated, distance from second dorsal insertion to upper caudal origin somewhat longer than distance from eye to pectoral origins. A dwarf species - adult less than 30 cm long
Centroscyllium granulatum
3b. Caudal peduncle rather short, distance from second dorsal origin to upper caudal origin as long as distance from eye to third gill slits or less. Larger size - adult at over 40 cm long
4a. Mouth long and more narrowly arched. Denticles close-set on body. A large species - adult at over 50 cm long
Centroscyllium fabricii
4b. Mouth short and more broadly arched. Denticles few and wide-spaced, skin of body almost naked. A smaller species - adult between 40 and 50 cm
Centroscyllium kamoharai
2b. Rear tips of pectoral fins ending about opposite origin of first dorsal spine or slightly in front of it. Distance between pectoral and pelvic bases about equal to head length or less
5a. Fins with white tips. Mouth fairly short, less than a third as high as wide
Centroscyllium nigrum
5b. Fins without white tips. Mouth fairly long, almost half as high as wide
Centroscyllium ornatum

Cirrhigaleus

1a. Second dorsal fin almost as large as first. Anterior nasal flaps with very large, broad secondary lobe. Upper precaudal pit weak or absent. Postventral caudal margin shallowly concave. Denticles very large, body surface rough (previously known as Squalus asper)

Cirrhigaleus asper

1b. Short snout, tremendously elongated anterior nasal flaps, no anal fin, stout fin spines on both dorsals, low, bladelike cutting teeth in both jaws, very stout body

Cirrhigaleus barbifer
2a. Barbels on anterior nasal flaps less than 2.5 times prenasal length
Cirrhigaleus australis

Squalus

1. Second dorsal fin much smaller than first. Anterior nasal flaps with secondary lobe small and narrow to absent. Upper precaudal pit strong. Postventral caudal margin deeply notched. Denticles small, body surface smooth

2a. Preoral snout elongated, about 1.5 to 2.0 times mouth width, preorbital snout two times eye length or more in adults. Eyes closer to first gill slits than snout tip. Inner corners of nostrils closer to mouth than snout tip
3a. Tips of dorsal fins, dorsal caudal margin and ventral caudal lobe conspicuously black
Squalus melanurus
3b. Tips of dorsal fins and caudal not conspicuously black
4a. Snout acutely pointed. Secondary lobe well developed on anterior nasal flaps. Long ventral caudal lobe
Squalus japonicus
4b. Snout narrowly parabolic. Secondary lobe vestigial or absent on anterior nasal flaps. Short ventral caudal lobe
Squalus rancureli
2b. Preoral snout short to moderately elongated, usually less than 1.4 times mouth width, preorbital snout less than two times eye length in adults. Eyes closer to snout tip than first gill slits. Inner corners of nostrils closer to snout tip than mouth
5a. Origin of first dorsal spine well behind free rear tips of pectorals. Secondary lobe minute or absent on anterior nasal flaps. Usually white spots present on sides
Squalus acanthias
5b. Origin of first dorsal spine over inner margins of pectorals and usually in front of their rear tips. Secondary lobe well-developed on anterior nasal flaps. No white spots on sides
6a. Diagonal distance from centre of snout tip to inner edge of nostril less than or about equal to distance from nostril to upper labial furrow. Pectoral fins with acutely pointed free rear tips. Lateral trunk denticles lanceolate
7a. Fin spines rather long, first dorsal spine nearly equal to fin base. Posterior margin of pectoral fins deeply concave. Midpoint of pelvic bases. about midway between first and second dorsal bases
Squalus cubensis
7b. Fin spines rather short, first dorsal spine much less than fin base. Posterior margin of pectoral fins moderately concave. Midpoint of pelvic bases closer to first dorsal base than second
Squalus megalops
6b. Diagonal distance from centre of snout tip to inner edge of nostril greater than distance from nostril to upper labial furrow. Pectoral fins with rounded rear tips. Lateral trunk denticles tricuspidate
8a. First dorsal height more than 3/4 of its length from origin to free rear tip, first dorsal spine as long as fin base. Height of second dorsal more than 5% of total length, second dorsal spine usually over 6% of total length
Squalus blainvillei
8b. First dorsal height less than 2/3 of its length, first dorsal spine much shorter than fin base. Height of second dorsal less than 5% of total length, second dorsal spine less than 6% of total length
Squalus mitsukurii

Etmopterus - Lantern Sharks

1a. Denticles with low, flat, concave, sessile crowns atop low bases

Etmopterus pusillus

1b. Denticles with erect, thornlike, cuspidate crowns, more or less elevated from bases

2a. Two rows of conspicuous, enlarged denticles on flanks above pectoral fins
Etmopterus sentosus
2b. No enlarged denticles on flanks above pectoral fins
3a. Upper teeth with 4 or 5 pairs of cusplets on each side
Etmopterus decacuspidatus
3b. Upper teeth usually with 3 or fewer pairs of cusplets on each side
4a. Denticles on sides of body in regular lines
5a. Colour dark above and below, no conspicuous flanks markings
6a. Distance from snout tip to first dorsal spine about as long as spine to upper caudal origin. Caudal fin short, much less than head
Etmopterus villosus
6b. Distance from snout tip to first dorsal spine much less than distance from spine to upper caudal origin. Caudal fin longer, greater than head
Etmopterus bullisi
5b. Colour light above and conspicuously dark an the underside, with prominent black flank markings
7a. Black flank marking without a long anterior branch, extending in front of pelvic fins
Etmopterus granulosus
7b. Black flank marking with a long anterior branching in front of pelvic fins
8a. Body very slim. Tail very long, distance from pelvic insertions to lower caudal origin equal to head. Posterior branch of flank marking very narrow and greatly expanded, longer than anterior branch
Etmopterus brachyurus
8b. Body rather stout. Tail short, distance from pelvic insertions to lower caudal origin much less than head. Posterior branch of flank marking rather broad and short, shorter than anterior branch
Etmopterus lucifer
4b. Denticles on sides of body randomly arranged, not in regular lines
9a. Pectoral fins and to a lesser extent other fins with a broad fringe of exposed ceratotrichia
Etmopterus schultzi
9b. Pectoral fins either unfringed or narrowly or irregularly fringed with ceratotrichia
10a. Distance from pelvic insertions to lower caudal origin at least 2/3 and often as long as distance between pectoral and pelvic bases
11a. Distance from pectoral origins to pelvic origins not longer than head length
Etmopterus polli
11b. Distance from pectoral origins to pelvic origins longer than head length
12a. Lateral trunk denticles with low, conical cusps. Underside of snout naked
Etmopterus virens
12b. Lateral trunk denticles with long, slender cusps. Underside of snout scaled
13a. Black markings on sides of tail and underside of head distinct. Prespiracular head about as long as distance from spiracles to pectoral insertions. Interdorsal space about as long as snout tip to pectoral insertions
Etmopterus hillianus
13b. Dark markings on body indistinct. Prespiracular head about as long as distance from spiracles to pectoral origins. Interdorsal space much less than snout tip to pectoral origins
Etmopterus gracilispinis
10b. Distance from pelvic insertions to lower caudal origin only about half as long as distance between pectoral and pelvic bases
14a. Interdorsal space longer than distance from snout tip to pectoral insertions. Distance from second dorsal insertion to upper caudal origin about a third as long as interdorsal space
Etmopterus baxteri
14b. Interdorsal space about equal to head length. Distance from second dorsal insertion to upper caudal origin about half length of interdorsal space
15a. Head width about equal to preoral length. Gill openings short, a third eye length or less. Conspicuous black flank markings present
Etmopterus spinax
15b. Head width nearly 1.5 times preoral length. Gill openings broad, over a third of eye length. No conspicuous flank markings
16a. Dermal denticles on sides with fairly thick cusps
16b. Dermal denticles on sides with slender, bristle-like cusps
Etmopterus unicolor Etmopterus bigelowi Etmopterus carteri

Deania

1a. A subcaudal keel on the lower surface of the caudal peduncle

Deania profundorum

1b. No subcaudal keel on the lower caudal peduncle

2a. First dorsal fin rather high, angular, and short, distance from its spine origin to free rear tip about 2/3 of distance from free rear tip to origin of second dorsal spine
Deania quadrispinosa
2b. First dorsal fin rather low, rounded, and long, distance from its spine origin to its free rear tip greater than distance from free rear tip to origin of second dorsal spine
3a. Lateral trunk denticles moderately large, crown length about 0.5 mm. Colour usually grey-brown
Deania calcea
3b. Lateral trunk denticles very large, crown length about 1 mm. Colour usually blackish
Deania hystricosa

Centrophorus

1a. Lateral trunk denticles with leaflike flattened crowns on elevated narrow to broad pedicels extending above the denticle bases, and with medial and lateral cusps on their posterior ends

2a. Free rear tips of pectoral fins broadly angular and not reaching past first dorsal spine origin. Denticles of adults with multiple lateral cusps
Centrophorus squamosus
2b. Free rear tips expanded into narrow angular lobes that reach past first dorsal spine origin. Denticles of adults with a pair of lateral cusps
Centrophorus granulosus

1b. Lateral trunk denticles with flat sessile atop the denticle bases, without separate pedicels and with or without a posterior medial.

3a. Second dorsal fin very small, half height of first dorsal or less, with spine origin usually well posterior to rear tips. Inner margins of pectoral fin longer than distance from second dorsal spine origin to upper caudal origin
Centrophorus moluccensis
3b. Second dorsal fin larger, 3/4 of first dorsal height or more, with spine origin usually over pelvic inner margins. Inner margins of pectoral about as long or shorter than distance from second dorsal spine origin to upper caudal origin
4a. Denticles of adults without cusps, crowns broadly rounded posteriorly
5a. Distance from first dorsal insertion to origin of second dorsal spine about as long as tip of snout to pectoral insertions
Centrophorus tessellatus
5b. Distance from first dorsal insertion to origin of second dorsal spine about as long as tip of snout to pectoral origins
Centrophorus granulosus
4b. Denticles of adults with medial cusps, crowns angular and thornlike posteriorly
6a. Snout rather short and broad, preoral length less than mouth width. Free rear tips of pectoral fins slightly elongated, not extending behind first dorsal spines. Lateral trunk denticles of adults narrow and teardropshaped. Postventral margin of caudal fin virtually straight in adults. A large species reaching over 1.5 m (previously known as Centrophorus niaukang)
6b. Snout rather long and narrow, preoral length greater than mouth width. Free rear tips of pectoral fins greatly elongated, extending well behind first dorsal spine. Lateral trunk denticles of adults broad and rhomboidal. Postventral margin of caudal fin notched in adults. Maximum size usually below 1 m
Centrophorus uyato Centrophorus harrissoni Centrophorus atromarginatus Centrophorus seychellorum Centrophorus westraliensis Centrophorus zeehaani

Centroscymnus

1a. Snout greatly elongated, preoral length about equal to distance from mouth to pectoral fin origins. Upper labial furrows greatly elongated, their lengths greater than distance between their anterior ends

Centroscymnus crepidater

1b. Snout shorter, preoral length much less than distance from mouth to pectoral fin origins. Upper labial furrows shorter, their lengths less than distance between their anterior ends

2a. Snout moderately long, preoral length about as long as distance from mouth to first gill slits, and about equal to mouth width
3a Dorsal fin spines rather stout and prominent, exposed anterior margin of first spine nearly half length of fin base from insertion to rear end of spine. Body strongly tapering rearwards from pectoral fins. Pectoral fins large, their apices nearly or quite reaching first dorsal spine when laid back
Centroscymnus macracanthus
3b. Dorsal fin spines inconspicuous, with only tips slightly protruding or not at all. Body not tapering from pectoral fins, dorsoventral contours nearly parallel to pelvic bases. Pectoral fins smaller, their apices falling well ahead of first dorsal spine when laid back
4a Dorsal fin spines usually concealed by skin. Base of first dorsal fin extending anteriorly as a conspicuous broad ridge to over the pectoral bases (previously known as Centroscymnus cryptacanthus) now known as Centroscymnus owstoni
4b. Dorsal fin spines with tips usually exposed. Base of first dorsal fin little exended anteriorly as a low ridge to behind pectoral rear tips
Centroscymnus owstoni
2b. Snout short, preoral length about 2/3 as long as distance from mouth to first gill slits, and less than mouth width
5a. Lateral trunk denticles very large, with smooth, rounded crowns in adults, resembling bony fish scales. Body not tapering from pectoral fins, dorsoventral contours nearly parallel to pelvic bases.. First dorsal base not expanded forwards, origin of fin well behind pectoral rear tips
Centroscymnus coelolepis
5b. Lateral trunk denticles small and with tricuspidate ridged crowns in adults, not resembling bony fish scales. Body tapering posteriorly from pectoral fins. First dorsal base expanded forward, origin of fin about opposite pectoral rear tips
Centroscymnus plunketi

Scymnodon

1a. Snout very short. Mouth very large and broadly arched. Caudal fin with a weak subterminal notch

Scymnodon ringens

1b. Snout moderately long. Mouth rather small and nearly transverse. Caudal fin with a strong subterminal notch (previously Scymnodon obscurus)

Zameus squamulosus

Isistius - Cookie Cutter Sharks

1a. Lower teeth in 25 to 32 rows. Caudal large and with a long ventral lobe. A prominent dark collar marking around throat

Isistius brasiliensis

1b. Lower teeth in 19 rows. Caudal small and with a short ventral lobe. No collar marking on throat

Isistius plutodus

Somniosus - Sleeper Sharks

1a. Lower teeth with low roots and high, slender, semierect cusps. Number of tooth rows 57 to 63/33 to 36. A short lateral keel present on caudal fin base. Small sharks - adults less than 1.5 m

Somniosus rostratus

1b. Lower teeth with high roots and low, broad, oblique cusps. Number of tooth rows 35 to 52/48 to 58. No lateral keel on caudal fin base. Gigantic sharks - adults to 4 or more metres

2a. Interdorsal space at least as long as prebranchial length
Somniosus microcephalus
2b. Interdorsal space about 2/3 of prebranchial length
Somniosus pacificus

Heterodontus - Bullhead Sharks

1a. Supraorbital ridges very high

Heterodontus galeatus

1b. Supraorbital ridges moderate to low

2a. First dorsal origin behind pectoral fin bases
Heterodontus quoyi
2b. First dorsal origin over pectoral fin bases
3a. Body and fins spotted
4a. Body and fins with white spots. Anal fin apex well anterior to lower caudal origin when laid back
Heterodontus ramalheira
4b. Body and fins with dark spots. Anal fin apex reaching lower caudal origin when laid back
5a. Back and sides with small dark spots less than a third of eye diameter; no light bar on interorbital surface of head
Heterodontus francisci
5b. Back and sides with larger dark spots a half eye diameter or more; a light bar on interorbital surface of head
Heterodontus mexicanus
3b. Body and fins striped or banded
6a. Body with a harness pattern of dark stripes
Heterodontus portusjacksoni
6b. Body with 7 to 12 vertical dark bands, not arranged in a harness pattern
7a. Ground colour white or cream with narrow, discrete brown or black vertical bands; distance from anal base to lower caudal origin over twice anal base
Heterodontus zebra
7b. Ground colour tan to brown with broad, diffuse-edged brown vertical bands; distance from anal base to lower caudal origin less than twice anal base.
Heterodontus japonicus
Mouth in front of eyes?

Orectolobiformes

A. Color pattern of white spots and stripes, extremely large body size, head is broad and flat, external gill slits very large,

Rhincodon typus - Whale Shark

B. Smaller mouth and external gill slits, subterminal notch present on caudal fin, color pattern may be present but body size is smaller


A. Caudal fin about as long as rest of shark

Stegostoma fasciatum - Zebra Shark

B. Caudal fin much shorter than rest of shark


A. Head and body greatly flattened, head with skin flaps on sides

B. Head and body cylindrical or somewhat flattened, head without skin flaps


A. No lobe and groove around outer edges of nostrils

B. A lobe and groove around outer edges of nostrils


A. Spiracles minute. Origin of anal fin well in front of second dorsal origin, separated from lower caudal origin by space equal or greater than its base length

B. Spiracles large. Origin of anal fin well behind second dorsal origin, separated from lower caudal origin by space less than its base length


A. Nasal barbels very long. Anal fin high and angular. Distance from vent to lower caudal origin shorter than distance from snout to vent

B. Nasal barbels short. Anal fin low, rounded and keel-like. Distance from vent to lower caudal origin longer than distance from snout to vent


Orectolobidae - Wobbegongs

1a. Chin with dermal lobes. Body with a reticular pattern of narrow dark lines

Eucrossorhinus dasypogon - Tasselled wobbegong

1b. Chin without dermal lobes. Colour pattern variable, but without a reticular pattern of narrow dark lines

2a. Head and body without tubercles or with small ones or inconspicuous dermal ridges. Dorsal fins higher, height at least three-fourths of base length. Origin of first dorsal behind midbase of pelvis
2b. Head and body without tubercles or with small ones or inconspicuous dermal ridges. Dorsal fins higher, height at least three-fourths of base length. Origin of first dorsal behind midbase of pelvis
Sutorectus tentaculatus

Ginglymostomatidae - Nurse Sharks

1a. Teeth not compressed in sides of jaw, not imbricated; Pectoral, dorsal and anal fins apicaily rounded, pectoral fins broad and not hooked

1b. Teeth more or less compressed in sides of jaws, forming imbricated series. Pectoral, dorsal and anal fins apically angular, pectoral fins-narrow and hooked

Nebrius ferrugineus
Barbells on throat?

Brachaeluridae - Blind Sharks

1a. A median symphyseal groove present on chin; Anal fin insertion just before lower caudal origin

Brachaelurus waddi

1b. No symphyseal groove on chin; Anal fin insertion separated from lower caudal origin by a space equal to anal inner margin

Brachaelurus colcloughi
Nostrils subterminal on snout?

Ginglymostoma

1a. Second dorsal and anal fins about as large as first dorsal. Caudal fin short, less than 1/4 of total length

Psuedoginglymostoma brevicaudatum

1b. Second dorsal and anal fins much smaller than first dorsal. Caudal fin longer, over 1/4 of total length

Ginglymostoma cirratum

Cirrhoscyllium

1a. First dorsal origin about equidistant between snout tip and subterminal notch of caudal fin. Six dark saddles on back and tail

Cirrhoscyllium formosanum

1b. First dorsal fin closer to snout tip than subterminal notch. Nine or ten dark saddles on back and tail

2a. First dorsal origin well behind pelvic free rear tips. Anal insertion below second dorsal origin, free rear tip reaches first fourth of second dorsal base, anal base shorter than distance from anal insertion to lower caudal origin
Cirrhoscyllium japonicum
2b. First dorsal origin over pelvic free rear tips. Anal insertion below midbase of second dorsal, free rear tip reaches second dorsal insertion, base about equal to distance from anal insertion to lower caudal origin
Cirrhoscyllium expolitum

Parascyllium

1a. Gill region with a prominent dark collar marking dotted with dense white spots, body with brown blotches and small white spots, fins with very prominent large black blotches

Parascyllium variolatum

1b. Gill region with an indistinct to prominent dusky collar marking with or without a few brown spots but lacking white spots, body with small to moderately large brown spots but no blotches, fins with small brown spots but no black blotches

2a. Gill region with a prominent dusky collar, dark spots absent from pectoral fin
Parascyllium collare
2b. Gill region with collar marking obscure, dark spots present on fins and body
Parascyllium ferrugineum

Chiloscyllium

1a. Body and tail very slender. Anal fin origin far behind free rear tip of second dorsal, length of anal fin from origin to free rear tip subequal to length of hypural caudal lobe from lower caudal origin to subterminal notch. Colour pattern with numerous small dark spots and bars

Chiloscyllium indicum

1b. Body and tail moderately slender to relatively stout. Anal fin origin below or close behind free rear tip of second dorsal, length of anal fin considerably shorter than hypural caudal lobe. Colour pattern varied but without numerous small dark spots and bars

2a. Ground colour of body dark with numerous light spots
3a. Dorsal fins large and angular, snout tip truncated. Colour pattern without transverse dark bands, blue spots
Chiloscyllium caeruleopunctatum
3b. Dorsal fins smaller and more rounded, snout tip broadly rounded. Colour pattern with transverse broad dark saddles, white spots
Chiloscyllium plagiosum
2b. Ground colour of body light, with or without scattered dark spots or dusky bands
4a. Dorsal fins smaller than pelvic fins, dorsals without projecting free rear tips
Chiloscyllium griseum
4b. Dorsal fins larger than pelvic fins, dorsals with projecting free rear tips
5a. A lateral ridge present on each side of trunk. First dorsal origin over or behind pelvic fin bases. No colour pattern
Chiloscyllium arabicum
5a. No lateral ridges on trunk. First dorsal origin over anterior halves of pelvic fin bases. A colour pattern of saddles and a few scattered dark spots in young
Chiloscyllium punctatum

Hemiscyllium

1a. Head and snout with an abrupt black hood. Body with conspicuous large white spots

Hemiscyllium strahani

1b. Head and snout light, without a black hood but with conspicuous black spots above pectoral fins. Body with light spots inconspicuous or absent

2a. Black spot behind gills small, not in the form of a conspicuous ocellus
Hemiscyllium freycineti
2b. Black spot behind gills large, in the form of a conspicuous ocellus, ringed with white
3a. Body covered with numerous, densely clustered dark small and large spots that form a reticular network of light ground colour between them. Dark crossbands strong on ventral surface of tail
Hemiscyllium trispeculare
3b. Body with sparse, large dark spots that do not form a reticular network of light ground colour between them. Dark crossbands not reaching ventral surface of tail
4a. Lateral ocellus not surrounded by large black spots. Spots present on head in front and below eyes
Hemiscyllium ocellatum
4b. Lateral ocellus surrounded by large black spots. Spots absent from head in front and below eyes
Hemiscyllium hallstromi

Orectolobus

1a. Nasal barbels not branched. Dermal lobes of head very broad-based, only 2 or 3 in front of eyes. Colour pattern simple, dark rounded saddles with tight outlining widely spaced by dusky areas and with a few dark spots; saddles on head and trunk forming conspicuous eyespots

Orectolobus wardi

1b. Nasal barbels branched. Dermal flaps narrow-based and more numerous, 5 or more in front of eyes. Colour pattern with elaborate variegated spots and saddles

2a. Back dark, with light O-shaped markings obscuring darker saddles. About 8 to 10 dermal flaps below and in front of eyes
Orectolobus maculatus
2b. Back with dark colour variegated with light blotches and prominent saddle markings. About 5 or 6 dermal flaps below and in front of eyes
3a. Back with light areas between dark saddles marked with broad reticulated dark lines
Orectolobus japonicus
3b. Back with light areas between dark saddles marked with dark, light centred blotches and spots, not reticulated lines
Orectolobus ornatus
Head lateral, with bladelike expansions?
A. Lateral blades of head anteroposteriorly broad, not winglike. Nostrils short, their widths 7 to 14 times in internarial width and less than half of mouth width. No knobs along anterior margin of head
B. Lateral blades of head very narrow and winglike. Nostrils greatly enlarged, their widths 0.8 to 0.9 times in the internarial width and nearly twice the mouth width. Knobs present along anterior margin of head, opposite nostrils
Eusphyra blochii

Sphyrna

1a. Head shovel-shaped and narrow, its width 21% of total length or less (usually less). Anterior margin of head not notched. Posterior teeth expanded as broad, molariform crushers

Sphyrna tiburo

1b. Head broader and more hammer- or axe-shaped, its width over 22% of total length. Anterior margin of head more or less notched, just medial to nostrils. Posterior teeth not expanded as molariform crushers

2a. Posterior margins of lateral blades of head usually more or less transverse. Free rear tip of first dorsal over or behind pelvic origins. Posterior margin of anal fin straight or concave, not deeply notched. Size smaller, adults less than 2 m
3a. Prenarial grooves present on anterior edge of head medial to nostrils. Head with a well-defined medial indentation and paired lateral indentations on its anterior edge. First dorsal fin more erect
Sphyrna tudes
3b. Prenarial grooves hardly developed on anterior edge of head. Head with poorly defined medial and lateral indentations. First dorsal fin more falcate
4a. Snout longer, preoral length usually over 2/5 of head width. Mouth narrowly arched. Anal fin shallowly concave
Sphyrna corona
4b. Snout shorter, preoral length usually less than 2/5 of head width. Mouth broadly arched. Anal fin more deeply concave
Sphyrna media
2b. Posterior margins. of lateral blades of head usually arching posterolaterally (except in adults of S. mokarran). Free rear tip of first dorsal well in front of pelvic origins. Posterior margin of anal fin usually deeply notched. Size larger, adults at least 3 m
5a. Anterior margin of head nearly straight in adults. Prenarial grooves absent or hardly developed. Teeth strongly serrated at all sizes. Pelvic fins high and falcate. First dorsal markedly falcate. Second dorsal fin high, with a short inner margin and deeply concave posterior margin
Sphyrna mokarran
5b. Anterior margin of head moderately convex in adults, strongly so in young. Prenarial grooves well-developed. Teeth smooth-edged in young, weakly serrate in adults. Pelvic fins low and not falcate, with nearly straight posterior edges. First dorsal usually semifalcate. Second dorsal fin low, with a long inner margin and nearly straight posterior margin
6a. No median indentation on anterior margin of head. Free rear tip of second dorsal well ahead of upper caudal origin. Anal base about as large as second dorsal base
Sphyrna zygaena
6b. A prominent median indentation on anterior margin of head. Free rear tip of second dorsal nearly reaching upper caudal origin. Anal base noticeably larger than that of second dorsal
7a. Lateral lobes of head narrower transversely and longer from front to back in adults. First dorsal origin over pectoral midbases. Pectoral fins plain, not dark-tipped
Sphyrna couardi
7b. Lateral lobes of head broader transversely and shorter from front to back in adults. First dorsal origin slightly behind pectoral insertions. Pectoral fins dark-tipped
Sphyrna lewini
Very long upper caudal fin?

Alopias - Thresher Sharks

1a. Head nearly flat between eyes; with a deep horizontal groove on nape on each side above gills. Eyes very large, with orbits expanded onto dorsal surface of head. Teeth larger, less than 25 rows in each jaw. First dorsal fin base closer to pelvic bases than pectoral bases

Alopias superciliosus

1b. Head strongly arched between eyes; with no horizontal groove or with an inconspicuous one on nape on each side. Eyes smaller, with orbits not expanded onto dorsal surface of head. Teeth smaller, 29 or (usually) more rows in each jaw. First dorsal fin base about equidistant between pectoral and pelvic fin bases or closer to pectoral bases

2a. Head narrow, snout more elongated, forehead nearly straight. Labial furrows absent. Lateral teeth with well-developed distal cusplets. Pectoral fins nearly straight and broad-tipped. Terminal lobe of caudal shorter, its length from subterminal notch to caudal tip about equal to second dorsal base. Sides above pectoral bases dark, without an extension of the white abdominal area
Alopias pelagicus
2b. Head broad, snout shorter, forehead strongly arched. Labial furrows present. Lateral teeth usually without distal cusplets. Pectoral fins falcate and narrow tipped. Terminal lobe of caudal longer, its length from subterminal notch to caudal tip over twice second dorsal base. Sides above pectoral bases marked with a white patch extending forward from the abdominal area
Alopias vulpinus
Extremely large mouth? Gill slits may be extrememly long.

A. Head bulbous with a rounded snout. Broad mouth with its corner extending behind eyes. Black and dark coloration.
Megachasma pelagios - Megamouth Shark
B. Gill openings extremely large, extending onto top surface of head. Snout is bulbous and conical
Cetorhinus maximus - Basking Shark
Select the body shape that most resembles your species.




Mitsukurina - Goblin Shark

Snout greatly elongated and flattened, forming a dagger-like blade. Anal fin broadly rounded, long caudal fin.
Mitsukurina owstoni

Pseudocarcharias - Crocodile Shark

Grey or grey-brown body with light undersides. Eyes are very large with a slender body
Pseudocarcharias kamoharai

Sand Tiger Sharks

A. Labial furrows absent. Snout broadly rounded in dorsoventral view (previously Eugomphodus tricuspidatus)
Carcharias tricuspidatus
B. Labial furrows present on lower jaw. Snout narrowly rounded in dorsoventral view (previously Eugomphodus taurus)
Carcharias taurus
C. Teeth mostly with two or three cusplets on each side of cusp. Three or four rows of small intermediate teeth between upper anterior and lateral rows. Second dorsal fin origin over or slightly posterior to insertions of pelvic fins
Odontaspis ferox
D. Teeth with only one cusplet on each side of cusp. One row of small intermediate teeth between upper anterior and lateral rows. Second dorsal fin origin over midbase of pelvis fins
Odontaspis noronhai
Lower anerolateral teeth with long, hooked cusps that protrude from the mouth? Long gill slits, 1.8 to 3 times the eye length in adults?

A. Lower teeth with long, hooked cusps that protrude distinctly from snout. Snout obtusely wedge-shaped in dorsoventral view. No toothless space at midline of jaws. Fins not strongly crescent shaped, posterior margins of anal and second dorsal moderately concave, pectorals and pelvic fin posterior margins straight or slightly concave
Chaenogaleus macrostoma
B. Teeth prominently protrude from mouth. Slender, light grey body with very long gill slits. Ends of upper labial furrows behind rear corners of eyes
Hemipristis elongata
A. Lower teeth with short cusps that protrude slightly from snout. White-tipped second dorsal fin. Upper anterolateral teeth with very short cusps. No cusplets on lower teeth, teeth an inverted Y shape. 37-43 teeth in lower jaw, and body size ranges from 47-79cm. rows than uppers. Pelvic and dorsal fins, and ventral caudal lobe strongly falcate
Hemigaleus microstoma
B. Found off of northern Australia. Black-tipped second dorsal fin. Lower teeth with long, hooked cusps that protrude from snout. 45-52 teeth in the lower jaw, and body size smaller - ranging from 26-65cm
Hemigaleus australiensis
C. Upper labial furrows reaching anteriorly nearly or quite to level of upper jaw symphyses. Cusps of lower lateral teeth mostly with oblique cusps
Paragaleus pectoralis
D. Upper labial furrows falling well behind symphyses of jaws. Cusps of lower lateral teeth mostly with erect cusps
Paragaleus tengi
E. Found in northwestern Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf
Paragaleus randalli
Long upper labial furrows with a blunt and wide snout? Dusky bars present on back?

Galeocerdo - Tiger Shark

Upper labial furrows very long, extending to front of eyes. Spiracles present and relatively large. Prominent lateral keels on caudal peduncle. Vertical black or dusky bars on back, obscure or absent on adults
Galeocerdo cuvier
High proximal and distal cusplets preent on teeth in both jaws. Expanded anteior nasal and mesonarial flaps?

Triaenodon

High proximal and distal cusplets present on most teeth in both jaws. Expanded anterior nasal and mesonarial flaps forming a tube for the excurrent aperture
Triaenodon obesus
Second dorsal fin nearly or as large as first dorsal fin?

Short snout, preoral length much shorter than mouth width? Narrow upper and lower teeth with narrow unserrated cusps

Negaprion

A. Pale yellowish body color. Fins are usually strongly crescent-shaped.
Negaprion acutidens
B. Yellow/brown or olive grey coloration with cream underside. Fins slightly curved.
Negaprion brevirostris

Lamiopsis

A. Found in the Indo-Western Pacific. Dorsal fins positioned more posteriorly, upper teeth triangular in shape, coarse serration in teeth
Lamiopsis tephrodes
B. Found in the Indian Ocean. Broad pectoral fins, longer snout, dorsal fins positioned more anteriorly, finer serration in teeth
Lamiopsis temminckii
Snout triangular and dagger-shaped?

A. Snout narrow and dagger-shaped, pectoral fins are relatively large
Isogomphodon oxyrhynchus
Head greatly depressed with broadly triangular pectoral fins? Postventral margin of caudal fin shallowly concave?

A. Head greatly depressed and trowel-shaped. Pectoral fins broadly triangular, length from origins to free rear tips about equal to their anterior margins. Free rear tip of first dorsal about over midbases of pelvic fins. Postventral margin of caudal fin usually only shallowly concave. Distance from second dorsal fin to anal fin origin is 4.6-6.2% of total length. Head length is 25.4% total length.
Scoliodon laticaudus
B. Distance from second dorsal fin to anal fin origin is 6.0-9.1% of total length. Head length is 23.2% total length.
Scoliodon macrorhynchos
Second dorsal fin origin well behind anal fin origin? Prominent preanal ridges?

A. Posterior notches present on eyes. Labial furrows reduced and confined to mouth corners.
Loxodon macrorhinus
B. No eye notches. Labial furrows long, but reduced in a some species. First dorsal base usually less than 2 times in distance between pectoral and pelvic fin bases

A. Slender, grey to grey-brown body with a white underside. Narrow snout and large eyes. The fins are slightly darker in color than the body. The mouth has unique, long labial folds at the corners. The second dorsal fin is small. The anal fin has a pair of long pre-anal ridges. There is no interdorsal ridge.
Rhizoprionodon acutus
B. First dorsal is located directly over or slightly in front of the pectoral rear tips. The second dorsal fin originates above the middle of the anal fin. Dorsal surface has white spots in adults. Second dorsal fin originates over or behind midpoint of anal fin
Rhizoprionodon terraenovae
C. Brown to grey body, slender with a long snout. Long labial furrows are present around the corners of the mouth. The first dorsal fin is typically over or just behind the free tips of the pectoral fins.
Rhizoprionodon porosus
D. Found throughout the Indo-West Pacific. Bronze to greyish body color with a white underside, pale margins on the pectoral fins. Upper lobe of caudal fin linked with black. Second dorsal fin slightly smaller than anal fin, and promiinent preanal ridges are present. Long, narrowly rounded snout. Very small labial furrows.
Rhizoprionodon oligolinx
E. Found only in northern Australia, southern West Papua and Papua New Guinea. Bronze to greyish body color with a white underside, dark margins on the pectoral fins. Upper lobe of caudal fin linked with black. Second dorsal fin slightly smaller than anal fin. Preanal ridges very long. Long, narrowly rounded snout with very short labial furrows.
Rhizoprionodon taylori
F. Grey to bronze body color, white underside, and dusky fin edges. Long snout with short labial furrows. Small wide-spaced nostrils and large eyes.
Rhizoprionodon longurio
G. Smaller sharks, attaining 64 cm total length or less. Long upper and lower labial furrows, small second dorsal fin with origin far behind anal origin. Long anal ridges
Rhizoprionodon lalandii
Distinct blue color on upper half of body?

A. Brilliant blue colour on upper body
Prionace glauca
Narrow snout with large, close-set nostrils? Body relatively slender?

A. Very narrow snout, with large nostrils; close-set internasal space
Nasolamia velox
Cusps of lower teeth prominently protruding when mouth is closed? Second dorsal fin 1/2 to 3/5 the height of first dorsal fin?
A. First few anterior teeth in lower jaw with entire smooth cutting edges and low cusplets on the crown foot. Second dorsal fin lower, about half height of first dorsal
Glyphis gangeticus
B. First few anterior teeth in lower jaw with cutting edges confined to tips of cusps, giving cusps a spearlike shape, and no cusplets. Second dorsal higher, about 3/5 height of first dorsal
Glyphis glyphis
C.
Glyphis garricki
A. First dorsal fin is broadly rounded, pectoral fins are padddle shaped. A white molting coloration is present on the first dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins.
Carcharhinus longimanus
B. Dark grey to grey-brown coloration with a white underside. White margins on all fins. Interdorsal ridge present. Snout is broadly rounded, large eyes, and first dorsal is large
Carcharhinus albimarginatus
C. Dark grey to bronze grey coloration with a white underside. First dorsal fin is irregularly edged with white, and cadual fin is entirely edged with black. Other fins may be tipped with black. No interdorsal ridge present. Snout is broadly rounded and eyes are large.
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos
Low and elongated first dorsal fin? Over 200 rows of teeth?

Pseudotriakis - False Catsharks

A. First dorsal fin low and elongated - as long as, or slightly longer than the caudal fin. Over 200 rows of teeth in either jaw.
Pseudotriakis microdon
Are labial furrows short or absent? Posterior teeth comblike?

Head and snout bell-shaped in dorso-ventral view?

Gollum

A. White coloration on the edge of fins, tan body color, second dorsal fin base longer than first dorsal fin base
Gollum attenuatus
B. Known only from the Philippines. Soft body with a parabolic snout, dark tips of dorsal fins, second dorsal fin base longer than first dorsal fin base.
Gollum suluensis
Caudal fin narrow and ribbon-like? No color pattern present?

Eridacnis - Ribbontail Catshark

A Preoral snout over twice mouth length
Eridacnis sinuans
B. Labial furrows rudimentary or absent. Anal fin less than half height of dorsal fins. Dark brown color with blackish markings on dorsal fins
Eridacnis radcliffei
C. Labial furrows short but well-developed. Anal fin about two-thirds of dorsal fin heights. Greyish brown color with light edges on dorsal fins
Eridacnis barbouri
A. Very slender body with a color pattern of round, dark brown spots and indistinct saddles. First dorsal fin origin located behind pectoral fins. Large anterior nasal flaps, with posterior ends nearly reaching upper symphysis.
Proscyllium habereri
B. Stout body with color pattern being a combination of large red undulating blotches, spots, and lines. First dorsal fin origin in front of pectoral fin rear tips. Smaller anterior nasal flaps, with posterior ends falling well in front of mouth.
Ctenacis fehlmanni
Extremely long upper labial furrows? Anterior nasal flaps formed as slender barbels? No supraorbital crescent present?

Leptocharias - Barbeled Houndshark

A. Anterior nasal flaps formed posterior tooth as slender barbels. Upper labial furrows extremely long, nearly equal to internarial and over half mouth width. Intestinal valve with 14 to 16 turns. No supraorbital crests on cranium
Leptocharias smithii
Very large anterior nasal flaps nearly meeting at the midline of the snout. Nasoral grooves present

Scylliogaleus

A. Large, fused nasal flaps. Nasoral grooves present. Grey body with cream underside (Newborns with white rear edges on some fins).
Scylliogaleus quecketti
First dorsal fin base about as long as caudal fin? First dorsal fin base about 2 to 3 times in length as its height?

Gogolia

A. Snout very long and bell-shaped in dorsoventral view, Long first dorsal base
Gogolia filewoodi
Anterior nasal flaps formed into slender barbels?

Furgaleus

A. Anterior nasal flaps formed inro slender barbels. Almost humpbacked, grey colour above and light colour below, dark saddles in young and some adults. Snout short and broadly rounded, eyes elongated, labial furrows moderately long.
Furgaleus macki
Second dorsal fin considerably smaller than first dorsal fin, half its area or less? Long ventral caudal lobe?

Angular mouth? Second dorsal fin considerably larger than anal fin? Terminal lobe of caudal fin about a third of dorsal caudal margin length?

Hypogaleus

A. Mouth angular. Second dorsal fin considerably larger than anal. Terminal lobe of caudal about a third of dorsal caudal margin length
Hypogaleus hyugaensis

Galeorhinus

A. Mouth broadly arched. Second dorsal fin about as large as anal. Terminal lobe of caudal about half of dorsal caudal margin length
Galeorhinus galeus
Origin of first dorsal fin base far ahead of pectroal fin bases? Lateral eyes with no ridges underneath?

Iago

A. Rather short snout, gill region greatly expanded, width of longest gill slit nearly equal to eye length
Iago omanensis
B. Longer snout, gill region not greatly expanded, width of longest gill slit much less than eye length
Iago garricki

A. Internarial width about 2.5 times the nostril width. Compressed, bladelike teeth


B. Bluntly rounded snout in dorsoventral view. Internarial width 1 to 2 times nostril width. Broad, blunt teeth.


C. Parabolic or subangular snout in dorsoventral view. Internarial width 1 to 2 times nostril width. Broad, blunt teeth.


A. First dorsal origin over or ahead of free rear tips of pectoral fins. Distance from pectoral free rear tips to pelvic fin origins greater than first dorsal length from origin to free rear tip
Hemitriakis japanica
B. First dorsal origin over pectoral inner margins, anterior to their free rear tips. Distance from pectoral free rear tips to pelvic origins about as long as first dorsal
Hemitriakis leucoperiptera

Triakis

A. Body with a bold colour pattern of black saddles and a few large black spots on a grey background.
Triakis semifasciata
B. Relatively narrow fins, scattered black spots, anterior nasal flaps do not reach the mouth and are very separated from each other.
Triakis scyllium
C. Broad, large fins, stout body with black spots, anterior nasal flaps do not reach the mouth and are far separated from each other.
Triakis maculata
D. Broad fins, stout body with numerous black spots, anterior nasal flaps do not reach the mouth and are far separated from each other
Triakis megalopterus
E. Pectoral fins narrowly curved in adults. Maximum known length to be about 1 meter
Triakis acutipinna

Mustelus

A. Small white spots present on body, vertical dark bands present only in young, preorbital snout short and blunt, narrow mouth.Found in the eastern South Pacific
Mustelus mento
B. Small white spots on upper body, relatively large pelvic and pectoral fins. Found in New Zealand
Mustelus lenticulatus
C. Grey to brown colour with numerous white spots, snout bluntly rounded, dorsal fins similar in shape. Adults range from 78 to 140 cm in length. Found in eastern North Atlantic and Mediterranean.
Mustelus asterias
D. White spots on upper body, relatively small pectoral and pelvic fins. Adults range from 55 to 90 cm. Found in the Indian Ocean and western North Pacific.
Mustelus manazo
E. Usually a few small dark spots or blotches on dorsal surface of body. Grey to brown above, white below, trailing edges of dorsal fins dark. Aduts range from 50 to 60 cm. Found in the eastern North Atlantic and Mediterranean.
Mustelus punctulatus
Origin of first dorsal fin over or behind rear tips of pectoral fins? Origin of second dorsal fin in front of anal fin origin?

A. Snout usually sharply pointed. Pectoral fins considerably shorter than head, relatively narrow-tipped in young and pointed in adults. Origin of anal fin about under midbase of second dorsal fin. Underside of snout and mouth white
Isurus oxyrinchus
B. Snout narrowly to bluntly pointed. Pectoral fins about as long as head, relatively broad-tipped in young and adults. Origin of anal fin about under insertion of second dorsal fin. Underside of snout and mouth dusky
Isurus paucus
Stout body with a short snout and secondary keels present on the caudal base? First dorsal fin may have a white patch on the trailing edge.

Lamna - Mackerel Sharks

A. Snout relatively long, distance from snout tip to eye 2 or less times in distance from eye to first gill opening. Underside of body white, without dark spots and blotches, free rear tip of first dorsal abruptly white
Lamna Nasus
B. Snout shorter, distance from snout tip to eye 2.5 or more times in distance from eye to first gill opening. Underside of body white with dark spots and blotches (except possibly in very small individuals)
Lamna ditropis

Carcharodon

A. Conical snout, first dorsal fin is large and triangular - originating over inner margins of pectoral fin. Teeth are serrated. Gill slits long, second dorsal and anal fins very small. Adult body size ranges from 4.5m to 6.0m
Carcharodon carcharias
Supraorbital crest present on head above the eyes?

Second dorsal fin about as large as the first dorsal fin?
Greatly expanded anterior nasal flaps reaching the mouth? Nasoral grooves present.

Atelomycterus

A. Colour pattern of grey saddles separated by light areas and outlined by numerous small black spots (hatchlings have a simpler pattern of dusky saddles
Atelomycterus macleayi
B. Saddle markings obsolete, light grey and white spots outlined by large black spots, bars and lines
Atelomycterus marmoratus
Very long labial furrows?

Aulohalaelurus

A. Very long labial furrows present
Aulohalaelurus labiosus

Schroederichthys

A. Anterior nasal flaps broad and triangular. Clearly defined dark saddles and numerous dark spots, white spots few or absent. Adults at least 63 cm in length
Schroederichthys chilensis
B. Anterior nasal flaps broad and triangular. Saddles only slightly darker than background or absent, white spots numerous. Adults only up to 35 cm in length
Schroederichthys maculatus
C. Narow anterior nasal flaps. Dark saddles and numerous dark spots, which are scattered and do not outline the saddles; white spots usually present
Schroederichthys bivius
D. Narrow anterior nasal flaps. Dorsolateral surface with dark saddles outlined by numerous dark spots; white spots usually absent
Schroederichthys tenius
Absent or rudimentary labial furrows?

Cephaloscyllium

A. Colour pattern of bold dark lines forming saddles and open-centred blotches on back and sides
Cephaloscyllium fasciatum
B. Anterior nasal flaps extending to mouth. Underside heavily spotted
Cephaloscyllium ventriosum
C. Anterior nasal flaps not reaching mouth. Underside not spotted
Cephaloscyllium isabellum Cephaloscyllium laticeps
D. Anterior nasal flaps broadly triangular, overlapping mouth. No dark or light spots. A dwarf species, adults less than 40 cm. If present, claspers narrow and greatly elongated.
Cephaloscyllium silasi
E. Colour pattern of obscure dusky saddles on back, sometimes obsolete in adults, fins not conspicuously light-edged. Anterior nasal flaps do not overlap mouth. Large species, adults to one metre or more. If present, claspers are broad and not greatly elongated.
Cephaloscyllium sufflans
F. Colour pattern of prominent dusky saddles on back and broad dark lines on head, fins dusky with conspicuous light edges. Large species, adults to one metre or more. If present, claspers are broad and not greatly elongated. Cephaloscyllium nascione - See C. laticeps

A. Anterior nasal flaps have prominent barbels. Short upper labial furrows present in addition to lower labial furrows
B. Anterior nasal flaps without barbels (in some cases medial projections are present at) Lower labial furrows present, upper labial furrows absent

Poroderma

A. Colour pattern of dark horizontal stripes
Poroderma africanum
B. Colour pattern of dark spots
Poroderma pantherinum
A. Anterior nasal flaps greatly expanded and reaching mouth; nasoral grooves present
Scyliorhinus canicula
B. Colour pattern of black lines in a reticular pattern. Anterior nasal flaps not greatly expanded. No nasoral grooves.
Scyliorhinus retifer
C. A large species, exceeding 1 m. Saddles well developed in adults. Colour pattern includes numerous small light spots uniformly distributed on sides and back. Anterior nasal flaps not greatly expanded. No nasoral grooves.
Scyliorhinus capensis
D. Small and large dark spots, sometimes white spots densely distributed over head, fins, or saddle marks, Saddle marks inconspicuous or masked by spots. Anterior nasal flaps not greatly expanded. No nasoral grooves.
Scyliorhinus stellaris
E. Round dark brown spots sparsely distributed on fins and body. Anterior nasal flaps not greatly expanded. No nasoral grooves.
Scyliorhinus garmani
F. Irregular black spots sparsely distributed on fins and body. Anterior nasal flaps not greatly expanded. No nasoral grooves.
Scyliorhinus besnardi
G. Saddle marks clearly visible. Numerous white spots present but confined to saddle marks. Anterior nasal flaps not greatly expanded. No nasoral grooves.
Scyliorhinus hesperius
H. Saddle marks clearly visible, outlined by borders of black spots or broken black lines. Usually no white spots, but very few if present. Anterior nasal flaps not greatly expanded. No nasoral grooves.
Scyliorhinus boa
I. Dark base colour, few spots. Head broad, its width nearly equal to head length. Skin not very rough. Anterior nasal flaps not greatly expanded. No nasoral grooves.
Scyliorhinus meadi
J. Dark base colour, few spots. Head and body fairly narrow, skin very rough. Anterior nasal flaps not greatly expanded. No nasoral grooves.
Scyliorhinus torazame
K. Narrow head, lighter base colour with slightly darker saddles and numerous black spots, anal base as long as or longer than interdorsal space. Anterior nasal flaps not greatly expanded. No nasoral grooves.
Scyliorhinus cervigoni
L. Narrow head, lighter base colour with slightly darker saddles and numerous black spots, anal base shorter than interdorsal space. Anterior nasal flaps not greatly expanded. No nasoral grooves.
Scyliorhinus haeckelii
M. A dwarf species, not exceeding 32 cm. Saddles obsolete in adults. Anterior nasal flaps not greatly expanded. No nasoral grooves.
Scyliorhinus torrei
Head broadly flattened and spatulate?

Number of dorsal fins?

Pentanchus

A. 5 pairs of gill slits, one dorsal fin, flattened head, elongated snout usully longer than mouth width. Long labial furrows, uniform dark brown color
Pentanchus profundicolus
First dorsal fin almost as large as second dorsal fin -at least two-thirds of the size?

Apristurus

1. Origin of first dorsal somewhat in front of pelvic insertions.

1a. Small nostrils and very long mouth very long that is expanded in front of eyes. Enlarged gill slits with some nearly equal to length of eyes in adults
Apristurus riveri
1b. Angular prenarial snout angular. Large distance between pectoral and pelvic fin bases. Rear tips of pectoral fins far in front of the pelvic fin origin
Apristurus sinensis
1c. Broadly rounded prenarial snout. Very short distance between pectoral and pelvic fin bases. Rear tips of pectoral fins opposite or just in front of pelvic fin origins
Apristurus herklotsi

2. Origin of first dorsal behind pelvic insertions.

2a. White or reddish white colour. Relatively narrow and pointed snout. Mouth extends well in front of eyes. Eyes are very small, about equal to the length of the longest gill slit
Apristurus sibogae
2b. Short distance between pectoral and pelvic bases. Anal fin base 2.5 to 3.5 times fin height. Black, brown or grey colouring. Broad, rounded snout with the mouth positioned mostly under the eyes. Eyes are larger, their length much greater than widest gill slit.
Apristurus canutus
2c. Long distance between pectoral and pelvic bases longer. Anal fin base is short and 4 to 5 times the fin height. Black, brown or grey colouring. Broad, rounded snout with the mouth positioned mostly under the eyes. Eyes are larger, their length much greater than widest gill slit.
Apristurus parvipinnis
2d. Longer anal base longer. Pelvic fins relatively high and broadly rounded. Black, brown or grey colouring. Broad, rounded snout with the mouth positioned mostly under the eyes. Eyes are larger, their length much greater than widest gill slit.
Apristurus platyrhynchus
2e. Low and angular pelvic fins. Black, brown or grey colouring. Broad, rounded snout with the mouth positioned mostly under the eyes. Eyes are larger, their length much greater than widest gill slit.
Apristurus platyrhynchus

Apristurus

A. Narrow nostrils and very wide gill slits. Fins have prominent white edges. Anal fin tall and broadly rounded - about twice as long as its height. Long distance between pectoral and pelvic fin bases.
Apristurus kampae
B. Low and subangular anal fin that is three times as long as its height. Short distance between pectroal and pelvic fin bases. Fins do not have white edges.
Apristurus stenseni
C. Broad nostrils, narrower gill slits that are less than the eye length. Gill slits covered in grooves and pleats.
Apristurus spongiceps
D. Very large eyes. Broad nostrils with narrower gill slits less than the eye length. No grooves or pleats on gill slits.
Apristurus laurussonii
E. Smaller eyes with a very long interdorsal space.
Apristurus saldanha
F. Extremely long snout with a shorter interdorsal space.
Apristurus longicephalus
G. Shorter snout. Interdorsal space equal to or slightly shorter than first dorsal fin base length. Very short inner margins of pectoral fins - about 1/3 of pectoral fin base length.
Apristurus microps
H. Interdorsal space greater than first dorsal base. Longer inner margins of pectoral fins. Gill septa have prominent medial projections.
Apristurus laurussonii
I. Weak projections on gill septa. First dorsal origin over the last fourth of pelvic bases. Interdorsal space greater than first dorsal base. Longer inner margins of pectoral fins.
Apristurus macrorhynchus
J. First fin dorsal origin over pelvic midbases. Distance between pectoral and pelvic fin bases greater than prebranchial head.
Apristurus macrorhynchus
L. Interdorsal space about equal to preoral snout. First dorsal fin origin over pelvic midbases.
Apristurus brunneus
M. Interdorsal space greater than preoral snout. First dorsal origin over pelvic midbases.
Apristurus nasutus
N First dorsal lower than the second and extending anteriorly as a long, low ridge. Mouth very short, with dental bands hardly expanded.
Apristurus indicus
O. First dorsal as high as second and not extending anteriorly as a low ridge. Mouth longer, with dental bands somewhat expanded.
Apristurus laurussonii
P. Mouth very short and relatively small, not expanded in front of eyes and with dental bands not greatly enlarged. First dorsal about two-thirds of area of second, extending anteriorly as a long, low ridge to nearly over pelvic origins.
Apristurus investigatoris
Q. Body stout and strongly tapering to head. Lateral trunk denticles very sparse on body, not overlapping. Nostrils with circular, broad incurrent and excurrent apertures. Anal fin broadly rounded, caudal fin very narrow. Tips of dorsal fins a white colour
Apristurus manis
R. Body slender and not strongly tapering to head. Lateral trunk denticles more close-set on body, nearly overlapping. Nostrils with elongate-oval, narrow incurrent and excurrent apertures. Anal fin subangular, caudal fin broader. Tips of dorsal fins plain
Apristurus profundorum
Crest of enlarged denticles present on the dorsal caudal fin margin (diagram a.)? No caudal fin crest of denticles shown in diagram b.

Relatively large pectoral fins with obselete or very small ridges beneath the eyes. Typically a spotted or blotched color pattern?

Galeus

A. Very short labial furrows, confined to mouth corners. Snout broadly rounded
Galeus schultzi
B. Dorsal fins and sometimes upper and lower caudal lobes with black tips
Galeus sauteri
C. Anal base shorter than space between pelvic and anal bases. Mouth lining white, indistinct saddle markings present or absent from body. Base of precaudal tail fairly low and cylindrical.
Galeus nipponensis
D. Anal base longer than space between pelvic and anal bases. Mouth lining white, indistinct saddle markings present. Base of precaudal tail fairly low and cylindrical.
Galeus eastmani
E. 15 to 18 dorsal saddle blotches on back. Free rear tip of anal fin reaches or extends past lower caudal origin. A large species, adults over 50 cm. Mouth lining usually black. Base of precaudal tail fairly high and compressed
Galeus melastomus
F. Snout more elongated, mouth longer and more narrowly arched with lining usually black. Saddle blotches grey or blackish grey and less than 11 are usually present. Free rear tip of anal fin falling in front of lower caudal origin. Adults less than 45 cm
Galeus polli
G. Underside of caudal fin arched slightly. Pectoral fin base close to length of pelvic fin base. Snout shorter, and more broadly arched. Brown saddle blotches, if present.
Galeus piperatus
H. Underside of caudal fin straight-edged. Narrow pectoral fin base. Snout shorter, and more broadly arched. Brown saddle blotches, if present.
Galeus arae
I. Pelvic fins very large and broadly rounded. Colour plain
Galeus murinus
J. Pelvic fins moderately large and angular. A colour pattern of saddles and bars present
Figaro boardmani

Parmaturus

A. Origin of first dorsal well behind pelvic origins, pectoral fins small
Parmaturus melanobranchus
B. Second dorsal fin larger than the first and about as large as the anal fin. Origin of first dorsal fin opposite of pelvic fin origins, Anterior nasal flaps reduced to low points.
Parmaturus campechiensis
C. Large anterior nasal flaps, nasal flaps triangular. Second dorsal insertion well in front of anal insertion. Second dorsal about as large as first and much smaller than anal fin
Parmaturus xaniurus
D. Nasal flaps narrowly lobate. Second dorsal insertion about opposite anal insertion. Second dorsal about as large as first and much smaller than anal fin
Parmaturus pliosus
Head and branchial region greatly enlarged - giving species a tadpole shape? Origin of first dorsal fin slightly in front of pelvic fin origins?

Cephalurus

A. Head and especially branchial region greatly enlarged, giving adults a tadpole-shape. Origin of first dorsal fin slightly anterior to pelvic origins
Cephalurus cephalus
Greatly enlarged nasal flaps that overlap mouth? Nasoral grooves present?

Haploblepharus

A. Uniform golden brown colouring
Haploblepharus fuscus
B. First dorsal origin over or behind pelvic insertions. Dorsal saddle markings with conspicuous darker margins; saddles dotted with numerous small white spots
Haploblepharus edwardsii
C. First dorsal origin somewhat ahead of pelvic insertions. Dorsal saddle markings without conspicuous darker margins; saddles dotted with sparse large white spots
Haploblepharus pictus
Very broad head with no labial furrows. Small black dots present on the underside of the head?

Holohalaelurus

A. Head very broad, Very small regular, close-spaced dark spots on a light body colour
Holohalaelurus punctatus
B. Head very broad, Usually larger and somewhat irregular dark spots spaced closely together on a light bodu colour, light areas having a reticulated appearance
Holohalaelurus regani
If a color pattern is present, are gill slits are not elevated and snout is round? Adult males have inner margins of pelvic fins fused over claspers to form an 'apron'?

Asymbolus

A. Light brown colour with obscure dusky saddles and scattered large dark rusty spots on back and fins. If present, claspers are short, fairly thick, and pointed
Asymbolus analis
B. Mottled chocolate brown colour on top of shark with a white underside; numerous small white spots on back and fins. If present, claspers are long, very slender, and blunt
Asymbolus vincenti
A. Tip of snout upturned, colour pattern of about 26 narrow dark bars, the darkest in pairs with a light bar in between and numerous small brown spots and vermiculate marks between the bars. Head rather narrow, mouth small and short
Halaelurus lineatus
B. Tip of snout upturned, colour pattern of about 10 darker saddles consisting of dark bars surrounding a light centre, and with spots few or absent between the saddles. Head rather broad, mouth large and broad
Halaelurus natalensis
C. Snout pointed but not upturned, colour pattern of numerous vertical dark bars with few spots, spots that are present are arranged in rows between bars
Halaelurus quagga
D. Snout pointed but not upturned, dark spots few and sometimes in clusters around vague saddle blotches. Labial furrows reduced or absent, lower furrows 2mm long or less
Halaelurus buergeri
E. Snout pointed but not upturned, dark spots small and very numerous, over or between weak saddles or bars
Halaelurus boesemani
F.
Paragaleus leucolomatus Mollisquama parini Trigonognathus kabeyai
F. Anterior nasal flaps narrow-based and lobate. Sides of body with a line of white spots or white fin tips; caudal fin with dark bands
Bythaelurus dawsoni
G. Anterior nasal flaps triangular. Sides of body unspotted, fins plain
Bythaelurus immaculatus
H. Anal fin base less than 1.3 times the second dorsal base. Colour dark brown or blackish above and below. Size greater, adults 44 cm and larger
Bythaelurus canescens
I. Roof of mouth with numerous small papillae. Eye length less than 14 times in predorsal distance in adults. Adults 24 to 29 cm
Bythaelurus hispidus
J. Roof of mouth without papillae. Eye length 14 or more times in predorsal distance in adults. Adults 30 to 35 cm
Bythaelurus lutarius