Introducing the Sharks of False Bay colouring series. These are the 13 most common shark species found in False Bay, Cape Town, South Africa.
Number one on the list is the white shark or the Grootwithaai in Afrikaans. White shark populations are found in several oceans around the world but South Africa was the first country to protect it from commercial and recreational fishing.
Click here for the pdf download of the white shark.
The second shark we would like to introduce is the pyjama catshark, also known as the Streephaai in Afrikaans. This shark is nocturnal (which means it is active at night), and is found in the kelp forests around False Bay. It was given its name because of the stripes along its body, like a set of striped pyjamas.
Click here for the pdf download of the pyjama catshark.
The third shark in our False Bay series is commonly known as the soupfin shark, or tope (Sopvinhaai in Afrikaans). This species has been heavily exploited in the past (and unfortunately still in present times) for its oily liver as well as its fins and flesh.
Click here for the pdf download of the soupfin shark.
The bronze whaler (or Koperhaai) is the fourth shark in our False Bay series. This beautiful bronze tinged species has been spotted more frequently in recent years in False Bay, seemingly corresponding with a decrease in white shark sightings.
Click here for the pdf download of the bronze whaler shark.
The fifth shark we’d like to introduce is the tiger catshark (or tierkathaai in Afrikaans). These small catsharks are found in shallow, inshore waters, usually close to the seafloor. They get their name from the tiger-like vertical stripes on their backs.
Click here for the pdf download of the tiger catshark.
The spotted gully shark (gespikkelde sloothaai) is the sixth shark we’d like to introduce in our False Bay series. They prefer to frequent inshore caves, rocky reefs and gullies, but unfortunately are often caught as bycatch by demersal longline fishing vessels.
Click here for the pdf download of the spotted gully shark.
Next up and number seven in our False Bay series is the St Joseph shark (Josefhaai in Afrikaans). This peculiar-looking fish is also known as the Cape elephant fish thanks to its protruding snout. These are not true sharks as they belong to a completely different sub-class of cartilaginous fishes, called chimaeras.
Click here for the pdf download of the St Joseph shark.
The puffadder shyshark (pofadder skaamooghaai) is shark number eight in our False Bay colouring series. This species of catshark gets its name from the similarity in colour pattern to puff adder snakes and its tendency to curl up into a ball as a defence mechanism against predators.
Click here for the pdf download of the puffadder shyshark.
The ninth shark in our False Bay series is the common smooth-hound shark (or gladde hondhaai, in Afrikaans). While these sharks are wide-ranging, they are vulnerable to overfishing and are heavily exploited in South African waters.
Click here for the pdf download of the smooth-hound shark.
The spotted sevengill cowshark (platneus sevekiefhaai) is the tenth shark we’d like to introduce in our False Bay colouring series. Easily recognisable for having seven gill slits (2 more than most other sharks), these slow-moving sharks are considered to be the most primitive of all the sharks. Their lineage can be traced back 150 million years to the Jurassic Age!
Click here for the pdf download of the spotted sevengill cowshark.
Up next, we would like to introduce the dark shyshark (donker skaamooghaai), also known as ‘pretty happy’. You can find these sharks in shallow inshore waters from Cape Agulhas to Namibia.
Click here for the pdf download of the dark shyshark.
Shark number 12 in our False Bay colouring series is the spotted spiny dogfish (or doringhaai, in Afrikaans). Once believed the be the most abundant of all sharks, spotted spiny dogfish populations are under threat due to heavy exploitation. If you haven’t seen or heard of these sharks before, it’s because they are bottom-dwelling and live at depths greater than 50 meters.
Click here for the pdf download of the spotted spiny dogfish.
The leopard catshark (luipert kathaai) is our 13th and final shark we would like to introduce. These catsharks get their name from their beautiful, highly variable skin patterns that resemble those of leopards. The patterns can be categorised as either typical (as seen in the drawing), marleyi (large circles), salt and pepper (densely packed dots) or melanistic (almost completely black).
Click here for the pdf download of the leopard catshark.