Thin bronzy shark with distinct black tips

The Blacktip topeshark (Hypogaleus hyugaensis), also known as Pencil shark, is a shark belonging to the family Triakidae, and the only member of the genus Hypogaleus. It can be found in the west Indian Ocean in South Africa, northwest Pacific Ocean in Taiwan and Japan, and the southwest Pacific in Australia.


Family: Triakidae – Houndsharks

Genus: Hypogaleus 

Species: hyugaensis


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Triakidae

Common NameHoundsharks




Average Size and Length: They are born around 35 cm/1.1 foot. Mature sharks have been measured between 95-110 cm/3.1-3.6 feet. The maximum recorded is over 130 cm/4.2 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The teeth are blade like. The main cusp is angled, with inner serrations.

Head: The snout is long and broadly pointed. The eyes are large and oval.

Tail: There is a somewhat short terminal caudal lobe, which is less than half of the dorsal-caudal margin.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Blacktip topeshark or Pencil shark can be found in the west Indian Ocean in South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. They can be found in the northwest Pacific Ocean in Taiwan and Japan. They can also be found in the southwest Pacific Ocean in Australia. They are found in tropical warm to temperate waters on continental shelves and the upper-most slopes between 131-755 feet near the bottom.

Diet: They eat bony fish and cephalopods.

Aesthetic Identification: The Blacktip topeshark or Pencil shark is slender and of a medium size. It is bronzy to grey-brown dorsally, and lighter ventrally, with dusky dorsal fin tips and upper caudal fin tip, especially in younger sharks. The second dorsal fin is much smaller than the first dorsal fin, but larger than the anal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: They are viviparous, with a yolk-sac placenta. They have 8-11 pups per litter. Pups are born in December in South Africa waters, and in February off the coast of Australia after a 15-month gestation.  

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Blacktip Topeshark or Pencil Shark Future and Conservation: They are currently of least concern but were previously near threatened. They have a patchy distribution and generally low abundance. They are bycatch of fisheries.

Blacktip Topeshark or Pencil Shark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.