Soupfin Shark
Galeorhinus zyopterus

 The dive report came in -- there were "hundreds of sharks" at La Jolla Cove.
Since the divers who reported them lived to tell the tale,
I had to go see for myself.  True enough, we saw a very large school
of 5 to 6 foot sharks swimming through the kelp forest.  Unfortunately,
they were pretty skittish, and I had my wide-angle lens
(which makes everything look a lot smaller).
We could get no closer than about 5 feet from them;
any closer, and they turned and sped off.
This is the best shot I could get.

For a short video clip taken on the same dive
by Kevin Daily, click here.

A careful analysis of the pictures revealed
they were Soupfin (also know as Tope) sharks.
The Soupfin is a requiem shark --
a member of the shark family Carcharhinidae,
the largest family of sharks.
Carcharhinids are typically shark-like in appearance,
having two dorsal fins, an elongate upper tail lobe,
and single-cusped, blade-shaped teeth.
Some of the larger carcharhinids, such as the white,
blacktip, whitetip, and lemon sharks, are potentially
dangerous to humans.
Soupfins are only dangerous to fish.

The soupfin shark was once heavily fished
for its vitamin-rich liver oil.

Lens: 20mm wide-angle
Film: Kodak E100VS
Location: La Jolla, CA
©2000 Garry McCarthy