The Carcharoides dentition incorporates sand tiger-like anteriors with laterals, which are more reminiscent of cuspleted makos. The upper laterals are quite distinctive, which can't be said about other tooth positions that could easily be overlooked when not in excellent condition.

Anterior teeth have generally upright and straight crowns and cusplets. The crown is rather flat and the cusplets lean lingually. In lower anteriors, the cutting edge is incomplete and the lower labial crown face overhangs the roots. The root is rather flat and bears a nutrient groove.

Upper laterals are characterized by their broad, triangular & distally directed crowns and tall cusplets. The mesial cusplet is upright and the distal, posteriorly directed. Lateral cusplets decrease in size at a slower rate than the primary cusp in more posterior teeth. The crown is flat, bears a complete cutting edge and weakly overhangs the labial root face. The roots are quite flat with a nutrient groove separating each lobe. Lower laterals are also flat, triangular and bear a complete cutting-edge, however the cusp and cusplets are upright and the labial face more strongly overhangs the root. The root bears a nutrient groove, is less flattened than the uppers and more reminiscent of the odontaspid design.

The genus is only known from Oligocene and Miocene sediments, but could likely have been a circumglobal taxon. Specimens have been found in west & southern Africa, Western Europe, North and South America (Atlantic) and Australia. Two species are currently recognized. Carcharoides totuserratus AMEGHINO 1901 is from the Early Miocene of Patagonia and is characterized by its serrate cutting edge.

Relevant papers for this taxon include:

  • Philippi (1846:24, pl. 2 figs. 5-7) erects Otodus catticus (Miocene, Cassel).
  • For the next 50 years this tooth design was occasionally reported; Leriche (1926: 395-66) noted:
        LeHon (1871) Lamna (Odontaspis) lupus
        Woodward (1889) Odontaspis lupus and Lamna cattica
        Kissling (?1890) Oxyrhina leptodon
  • Ameghino (1901) erects Carcharoides totuserratus for serrate catticus-type teeth from Argentina.
  • Leriche (1926:395-97, pl. 28 figs. 50-52) includes the tooth-design as Lamna cattica (Bolderian, Belgium) and notes he previously (1920) reported it from the Netherlands and that Priem (1911) included the design from Argentina as Lamna sp.
  • Cappetta (1970: 23-25, pl. 4, figs. 5-8) Includes as Lamna cattica teeth from the Lower Burdigalian of France.
  • Müller (1983:59) Included this tooth-design as Carcharoides catticus.
  • Cappetta (1987: 95, figs 83.e-h) Includes the tooth-design as Carcharoides catticus.
  • Kent (1994: 53-55) reported C. catticus from the Old Church (Late Oligocene) and Calvert (Early Miocene) of Maryland and Virginia.
  • Müller (1999: 41, pl 3, figs. 9-12) included these teeth as C. catticus from the Old Church Fm. (Virginia) and Pungo River Fm. (Miocene, NC).
  • Purdy et al (2001: 156-57, figs. 57.k-n) reported the upper lateral tooth-design from the Pungo River (Early Miocene) of North Carolina, but ascribed them to Triaenodon obesus.2.
  • Ward & Bonavia (2001: 136) took exception to the Purdy et al (2001) assignment and argued that Carcharoides was the proper genus for these teeth.
  • Reinecke et al (2005) also recognized the presence of Carcharoides catticus (pg 28, p; 19, figs 3-6) but included as Carcharias sternbergensis sp. nov, (pp 25-27, pl 9, figs. 8-9; pl 10 & 11; pl 12 figs. 1-7) a more gracile form of the catticus tooth-design.

    C. catticus teeth are also represented in the Chandler Bridge Formation (Late Oligocene) of South Carolina.

    Carcharoides catticus is the European Oligo-Miocene species with a smooth cutting edge. In the western North Atlantic, specimens have been traditionally ascribed to C. catticus. However, as can be seen in the following images, some of these specimens bear incipient serrations.


    René Kindlimann and Kris Bloome were kind enough to provide images and information. David Ward took the time to review and comment on the content. A special thanks to Ken and Pat Young for tracking down and imaging those long-elusive Lee Creek anteriors and Pieter DeSchutter in tracking down literature and providing a European perspective.


    1. The current (2008) general consenus is that Carcharoides is a lamnid. By ascribing their more gracile specimens to Carcharhias, Reinecke et al (2005) are certainly suggesting that they may belong with the odontaspidids.
      2. Purdy et al (2001: 156-57) argued that all teeth ascribed to Carcharoides were in fact Triaenodon; anterior teeth ascribed to Carcharoides were actually Carcharias anteriors and that the serrations were actually chips. They never explained why only upper laterals could be found. This topic is discussed in greater detail in the Lee Creek Species page.


    Ameghino, F., 1901. L'age des formations sedimentaires de Patagonie, Anales de la Sociedad Cientifica Argentina, 51:65-91.
    Cappetta, H., 1970. Les sélachiens du Miocène de la région de Montpellier. Palaeovertebrata, Mémoire Extraordinare, 139 pp, 22 figs, 27 pls.
    Cappetta, H., 1987. Handbook of Paleoichthyology. Chondrichthyes II: Mesozoic and Cenozoic Elasmobranchii. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart and New York, 193 pages.
    Kent, B.,1994. Fossil Sharks of the Chesapeake Region. Egan Rees & Boyer, Maryland. 146 pp.
    Kissling, E., 1889. Die versteinerten Thier- und Pflanzenreste der Umgebung von Bern. Bern. pp 70.
    Le Hon, H., 1871. Preliminaire d'un memoire sur les poissons fossiles tertiaires de belgique. Bruxelles. 15 pp.
    Leriche, M., 1920. L'age du gravier fossilifère d'Elsloo (Limbourg hollandais), d'après sa faune icthyologique. Bulletin de la Société belge de Géologie, de Paléontologie et d'Hydrologie, XXX..
    Leriche, M., 1926. Les poissons Nêogènes de la Belgique. Mémoires du Muséee Royal d'Historie Naturelle de Belgique, 32:367-472, figs 161-228.
    Müller, A. 1983.Fauna und Palökologie des marinen Mitteloligozäns de Leipziger Tieflandsbucht (Böhlener Schichten). Altenburger Naturwissenschaftliche Forschungen, 2, 152 pp.
    Müller, A. 1999. Ichthyofaunen aus dem atlantischen Tertiär der USA. Leipziger Geowissenschafteb, Leipzig, 9/10: 1-360.
    Philippi, R., 1846. Tornatella abbreviata, Otodus mitis, Otodus catticus, und Myliobates testae. Palaeontographica, 1:23-25, Pl. 2.
    Priem, F., 1911. Poissons fossiles de la Républic Argentine. Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France, 4, XI, pp 329-340.
    Purdy, R., Schneider, V., Appelgate, S., McLellan, J., Meyer, R. and Slaughter, R., 2001. The Neogene Sharks, Rays, and Bony Fishes from Lee Creek Mine, Aurora, North Carolina. In: Geology and Paleontology of the Lee Creek Mine, North Carolina, III. C. E. Ray & D. J. Bohaska eds. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology, No 90. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. pp. 71-202.
    Reinecke, T., Moths, H., Grant, A. and Breitkreutz, H., 2005. Die Elasmobranchier des norddeutschen Chattiums, insbesondere des Sternberger Gesteins (Eochattium, Oberes Oligozän). Palaeontos, 8: 1-135, 15 fig, 3 plates, 60 tables
    Ward, D. and Bonavia, C., 2001. Additions to, and a review of, the Miocene shark and ray fauna of Malta. The Central Mediterranean Naturalist 3(3), Malta. pp 131-146.
    Woodward, A., 1912. The fishes of the English chalk. Monograph of the Paleontologival Society 56-57 (1902-1912), i-viii, 1-264, 49 pls.