School Shark, Galeorhinus galeus (Linnaeus 1758)


Other Names: Snapper Shark, Soupfin Shark, Tope, Tope Shark

A School Shark, Galeorhinus galeus, at The North Sea Oceanarium. Source: Jens Christian Schou / Biopix (via EOL). License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial

Summary:
A slender slate grey to bronze shark with a pale belly, plain fins and the underside of the head near the snout tip often translucent. The species has a very large sub-terminal lobe on the caudal fin (giving it a 'double-tailed' appearance) and a small second dorsal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2024, Galeorhinus galeus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Mar 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1960

School Shark, Galeorhinus galeus (Linnaeus 1758)

More Info


Distribution

Recorded in Australia from Moreton Bay (Qld) to Perth (WA), including Tasmania and Lord Howe Island. Elsewhere in temperate waters of eastern North Atlantic, western South Atlantic, eastern North and South Pacific, off South Africa, New Zealand. 

Elsewhere the species is bentho-pelagic in temperate waters of most oceans: across the Northeast, Eastern Central, Southwest, and Southeast Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea, the Eastern Indian, and across the Pacific (except in the Northwest Pacific). 
Inhabits continental shelves and upper to mid slopes from shallow inshore waters to well offshore at depths to 826 m, though most frequently above 200 m. 
Juveniles are often found in shallow, inshore bays of Victoria and Tasmania. School Sharks also occur well offshore in the Tasman Sea. Although usually found near the bottom, the species ranges through the water column even into the pelagic zone.

Features

Vertebrae (precaudal) 79, (total) 127. 
Body streamlined, slightly elongate; caudal peduncle without keels or precaudal pits. Head conical; snout relatively long and pointed; eyes oval; nictitating membrane internal in adults but transitional in juveniles; spiracles small; upper labial furrows moderately long, longer than lower; teeth in both jaws of similar shape and size, each with an outwardly oblique central cusp bearing three to five coarse serrations on its outer margin; five small gill slits, last two above pectoral fin. 
Interdorsal ridge usually absent. Two dorsal fins, second considerably smaller than first, origin of first behind inner corner of pectoral fin but closer to origin of pectoral than ventral fins, origin of second dorsal slightly in advance of anal-fin origin; caudal fin heterocercal, wide sub-terminal section to upper lobe with deep sub-terminal notch, distal flap expanded giving a characteristic 'double tailed' appearance, lower lobe prominent. Pectoral fins of moderate size, angular, hind margin slightly concave.

Feeding

Feeds on bony fishes (bottom-dwelling and pelagic species), squid and octopus. Small juveniles feed on crustaceans, polychaete worms, gastropods and echinoderms.

Biology

A very long-lived species and tagging studies reveal that this species can live to at least 55 years. Age at maturity is 8 to 10 for males and 10 to 15 for females. 
Reproduction is aplacental viviparity (ovoviviparity) with litters of 15-43 (mean = 28) young. Males mature at 120 cm TL at 8 years of age, and females at 130 cm TL at 10 years of age. The pups are born 28-35 cm TL after a 12 month gestation. Research from New Zealand found that School Shark litters may have multiple sires - presumably because females can potentially store sperm for long periods of time after the mating season. 

Fisheries

Fished throughout its range and heavily exploited. The flesh is excellent eating.

Conservation

Genetic analyses indicate that there are up to six isolated School Shark subpopulations around the world that should be managed as distinct, independent stocks.

Etymology

The specific name is derived from the Greek galeos (= small shark, dogfish).

Species Citation

Squalus galeus Linnaeus, 1758, Syst. Nat. Ed. 10: 234. Type locality: European Ocean.

Author

Bray, D.J. 2024

Resources

Atlas of Living Australia

School Shark, Galeorhinus galeus (Linnaeus 1758)

References


Chabot, C.L. 2015. Microsatellite loci confirm a lack of population connectivity among globally distributed populations of the tope shark Galeorhinus galeus (Triakidae). Journal of Fish Biology. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.12727

Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 4(2) 251-655 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V., Dando, M. & Fowler, S. 2005. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World. London : Collins 368 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V. & Niem, V.H. 1998. Family Triakidae. pp. 1297-1304 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 2 687-1396 pp.

Devloo-Delva, F., Maes, G.E., Hernández, S.I., Mcallister, J.D., et al. 2019. Accounting for kin sampling reveals genetic connectivity in Tasmanian and New Zealand school sharks, Galeorhinus galeus. Ecology and Evolution 9(8): 4465–4472. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5012

Grant, C.J., Sandland, R.L. & Olsen, A.M. 1979. Estimation of growth, mortality and yield per recruit of the Australian school sharks, Galeorhinus australis (Macleay), from tag recoveries. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 30: 625‒637. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF9790625

Hernández, S., Daley, R., Walker, T.I., Braccini, J.M., et al. 2015. Demographic history and the South Pacific dispersal barrier for school shark (Galeorhinus galeus) inferred by mitochondrial DNA and microsatellite DNA mark. Fisheries Research 167: 132‒142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2015.02.010

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Kailola, P.J., Williams, M.J., Stewart, P.C., Reichelt, R.E., McNee, A. & Grieve, C. 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Canberra : Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 422 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna tria Naturae, secundem Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentis, Synonymis, Locis. Tom.1 Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii 824 pp. See ref at BHL

Macbeth, W.G., Vandenberg, M. & Graham, K.J. 2008. Identifying Sharks and Rays; A guide to Commercial Fishers. Sydney : New South Wales Department of Primary Industry pp. 71.

Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 4. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 6(2): 202-387. (described as Galeus australis, type locality Port Jackson, NSW). See ref at BHL

McAllister, J.D., Barnett, A., Lyle, J.M., & Semmens, J.M. 2015. Examining the functional role of current area closures used for the conservation of an overexploited and highly mobile fishery species. ICES Journal of Marine Science 72: 2234–2244. https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsv079

McAllister, J.D., Barnett, A., Lyle, J.M., Stehfest, K.M., Semmens, J.M. 2018. Examining trends in abundance of an overexploited elasmobranch species in a nursery area closure. Marine and Freshwater Research 69: 376-384.  https://doi.org/10.1071/MF17130

McMillan, M.N., Huveneers, C., Semmens, J.M., Gillanders, B.M. & Durif, H.e.C. 2018. Partial female migration and cool-water migration pathways in an overfished shark. ICES Journal of Marine Science: https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsy181.

Olsen, A.M. 1954. The biology, migration, and growth rate of the school shark, Galeorhinus australis (Macleay) (Carcharhinidae) in south-eastern Australian waters. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 5: 353–410. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF9540353

Olsen, A.M. 1959. The status of the school shark fishery in south-eastern Australian waters. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 10: 150–176. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF9590150

Olsen, A.M. 1984. Synopsis of biological data on the school shark: Galeorhinus australis (Macleay 1881). FAO Fisheries Synopsis 139: 1–42 See ref online

Péron, F. 1807. Voyage de Découvertes aux Terres Australes, Exécuté par Ordre de Sa Majesté l'Empereur et Roi, sur les Corvettes le Géographe, le Naturaliste, et la Goelette le Casurina, Pendant les Années 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 et 1804. Tome premier. Paris : Imprimerie Impériale xv 498 pp.1 pl. Atlas. (described as Squalus rhinophanes, type locality Adventure Bay, Tasmania, Australia).

Punt, A.E. & Walker, T.I. 1998. Stock assessment and risk analysis for the school shark (Galeorhinus galeus) off southern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 49: 719–731. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF96101

Punt, A.E., Pribac, F., Walker, T.I., Taylor, B.L. & Prince, J.D. 2000. Stock assessment of school shark Galeorhinus galeus based on a spatially-explicit population dynamics model. Marine and Freshwater Research 51: 205–220.

Walker, T.I. 1998. Can shark resources be harvested sustainably? A question revisited with a review of shark fisheries. Marine and Freshwater Research 49: 553-72.

Walker, T.I. 1999. Galeorhinus galeus fisheries of the world. In Case studies of management of elasmobranch fisheries. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 378/2. 24: 728–773.

Walker, T.I., Rigby, C.L., Pacoureau, N., Ellis, J., Kulka, D.W., Chiaramonte, G.E. & Herman, K. 2020. Galeorhinus galeus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T39352A2907336. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T39352A2907336.en. Accessed on 09 January 2024.

Walker, T.I., Taylor, B.L., Brown, L.P., & Punt, A.E. 2008. Chapter 32. Embracing movement and stock structure for assessment of Galeorhinus galeus harvested off southern Australia, pp. 369–392 in Camhi, M.D., Pikitch, E.K., & Babcock, E.A. (eds). Sharks of the Open Ocean: Biology, Fisheries and Conservation  Oxford, United Kingdom : Blackwell Publishing.

White, W. 2008. Shark Families Heterodontidae to Pristiophoridae. pp. 32-100 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Whitley, G.P. 1930. The teeth of fishes. Australian Museum Magazine 4(3): 92-99 12 figs (described as Carcharhinus cyrano, type locality Port Stephens, NSW).

Woodhams, J. & Curtotti, R. 2018. Chapter 12. Shark Gillnet and Shark Hook Sectors, pp. 256-280 in Patterson, H., Larcombe, J., Nicol, S. & Curtotti, R. (eds). Fishery status reports 2018, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37017008

Behaviour:Migratory

Conservation:IUCN Critically Endangered

Depth:2-826 m

Fishing:Commercial, gamefish, aquarium

Max Size:220 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map