hooktooth shark

A shark with long hooked teeth

The Hooktooth shark (Chaenogaleus macrostoma), is a Weasel shark of the family Hemigaleidae, the only member of the genus Chaenogaleus. It is found in the tropical Indo-West Pacific oceans between latitudes 30° N and 10° S.


Family: Hemigaleidae – Weasel sharks

Genus: Chaenogaleus 

Species: macrostoma


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Hemigaleidae

Common NameWeasel Sharks




Average Size and Length: The maximum recorded length is 3.3 feet. Most are typically between 2.2 and 3.3 feet. They are born about half a foot.

Teeth and Jaw: Protruding lower teeth, upper teeth with distal cusplets but no serrations, lower teeth with extremely long, hooked smooth-edged cusps. The lower jaw rounded at symphysis; ends of upper labial furrows behind rear corners of eyes; no toothless space at midlines of jaws; upper anterolateral teeth with smooth mesial edges and very long cusps; lower anterolateral teeth with very long, stout, strongly hooked cusps, and no cusplets; lower crown feet and roots deeply arched, giving teeth an inverted Y shape; lower teeth protrude prominently when mouth is closed; tooth row counts 33 to 38/34 to 36, with 2 more lower rows to 2 less than upper rows.

Head: The Hooktooth shark has an angular, moderately long and wide snout, large lateral eyes with nictitating membranes and small spiracles.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Hooktooth shark can be found in the Indo-West Pacific in the Gulf, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, China (including Taiwan Province), Java, Sulawesi. They are found inshore, in tropical waters of the continental and insular shelves, caught at depths down to 194 feet.

Diet: Hooktooth sharks probably eat small fishes, cephalopods, and crustaceans.

Aesthetic Identification: The Hooktooth shark is small, slender light-grey to bronze. Sometimes the second dorsal fin and the terminal lobe of the caudal fin are black. It has long gill slits about twice eye length or more. There are two spineless dorsal fins and an anal fin, second dorsal about 2/3 the size of first, second dorsal origin opposite or slightly ahead of anal origin, anal fin smaller than second dorsal and without preanal ridges, transverse, crescentic precaudal pits. The fins not falcate; second dorsal fin height 3/5 or more of first dorsal fin height.

Biology and Reproduction: Not much is known about the reproduction of Hooktooth sharks. They are viviparous and typically have 4 pups per litter.  

Hooktooth Shark Future and Conservation: They are commonly caught in inshore and offshore artisanal fisheries off Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and probably elsewhere in its range. Caught in drifting and bottom gillnets and on longlines and other line gear. Meat utilized fresh for human consumption; offal processed into fishmeal.

Hooktooth Shark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.