The soupfin shark (Galeorhinus galeus) is one of those sharks that goes by a variety of names: tope, flake, school shark, Miller’s dog, oil shark, Penny dog, rig, snapper shark, soupie, southern tope, sweet William, whithound, and vitamin shark (their oily livers are rich in vitamin A). In the Triakidae family, they are actually related to leopard sharks!
Found worldwide in temperate waters, you will often see them in large groups (called 'schools') of up to 50 individuals. #Finfact: soupfin sharks may travel hundreds of miles to mate! They have a year-long gestation period. WOW. Their appetite has them being big fans of a variety of fish, crab, shrimp, lobster, cephalopods, worms and more.
These sharks have a slender, body and a long snout. Soupfins are a silver color on top that blends into their creamy underbelly. They can reach lengths of up to 1.95 m (6.5 ft) and 45 kg (100 lbs). Like many species of sharks, they mature slowly. As their name suggests, they are sought out for their meat and fins, used in numerous Asian dishes, including sharkfin soup. The commercial fishery for soupfin was the biggest shark fishery in California in the 1930's which expanded as it was discovered their oily livers were rich with vitamin A. The fishery became less popular in the late 1940's as scientists created synthetic vitamin A. The IUCN has assessed them as Vulnerable (VU).
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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