San Francisco Bay Wildlife
Wildlife of the San Francisco Bay Area


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Sharks of San Franscisco Bay Area

Leopard Shark
Leopard Shark - Triakis semifasciata
Image Source: KQED QUEST

Brown Smoothhound
Brown Smoothhound Shark - Mustelus henlei
Photo credit Tim Watkins/PSRF

Spiny Dogfish
Spiny Dogfish - Squalus acanthias
Photo credit NOAA Photo Library/Flickr

Big Skate
Big Skate - Raja binoculata
Image Source: US NOAA

Sharks, Skates and Rays are collectively termed "elasmobranchs". Around 11 species of Sharks are found in the Bay itself - including Leopard Shark, Pacific Angel Shark, Brown Smoothhound, Broadnose Sevengill. The Leopard Shark is the most common in the Bay. Small Spiny Dogfish are found swimming on the bottom of the Bay. The Bay is one of the two primary nursery grounds for Broadnose Sevengill Sharks, along the California coast - they are known to pup here. 16 species are found in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Many more are found along the coast and in the ocean including Monterey Bay. Bat Rays are common in the Bay. They look for molluscs, crustaceans and small fish on the muddy bottom. A great place to see Sharks and Rays from land is Elkhorn Slough.

Bay Area Sharks

Bay Area Rays

Sharks and Rays Articles and Links

  • Peering into Muddy Waters: The Sharks of San Francisco Bay, an article in Bay Nature by Ron Russo. Local details about 5 of the most common species. 
  • Sharks, rays thrive in Elkhorn Slough's muddy waters, by Tom Ragan, in Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 19, 2007. 
  • The Sharks of Monterey Bay listed on Pelagic Shark Research Foundation's website. 
  • Sharks of the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary 
  • "City of the Shark" - a documentary on the Bay's sharks by David McGuire of Sea Stewards, showcasing the Sevengill Shark. 
  • Sevengill Shark Tagging Project in San Francisco Bay, by Aquarium of the Bay. 
  • Leopard sharks flourishing in south San Francisco Bay as wetlands are restored, by Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News, July 2013. 
  • Notes from the Field: The Bat Ray of the Marsh, by Crescent Calimpong, Save the Bay blog, April 2012. 
  • Sea Stewards is a local organization which is working on Shark conservation and ocean health. 


Aņo Nuevo Island White Shark Study/Pelagic Shark Research Foundation from Sean Van Sommeran on Vimeo.

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