Cartilaginous Fish | Chondrichthyes

Chondrichthyes refers to a class of fish or vertebrates that feature paired fins and an internal skeleton composed of cartilage. Noticeable characteristics of cartilaginous fish include the capability of numerous species to breathe through gills and spiracles, skin dressed in dermal denticles to give protection, a small brain with several sensory organs, and an adaptive immune system. Additionally, these fish lack swim bladders, are often predatory, and show jaws and paired appendages. They are likewise an excellent source of food for humans. Chondrichthyes are further divided into Elasmobranchii and Holocephali and can be found both in freshwater and marine environments.

How are cartilaginous fish different from bony fish?

Cartilaginous fish are different from bony fish through their skeletons that are made of mostly cartilage as opposed to bony fish which have skeletons composed mostly of bone. Both cartilaginous and bony fish fall under different types of taxonomic groups. Cartilaginous fish are part of the Chondrichthyes while bony fish are of the Osteichthyes class.

How do cartilaginous fish maintain buoyancy?

Cartilaginous fish maintain their buoyancy through their liver which is filled with oil. The oil within their liver helps cartilaginous fish lighten their body to keep it from sinking downwards into the body of water, while also helping the fish save energy to keep moving and direct themselves.

Do cartilaginous fish have jaws?

Cartilaginous fish have movable jaws that are equipped with fully developed teeth. The mouth of cartilaginous fish is typically located under their head. Cartilaginous fish only have one set of oral jaws that are made of cartilage. The jaws of cartilaginous fish are articulated and opposed vertically.

Cartilaginous Fish Guides
Browse through our curated Cartilaginous Fish Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Cartilaginous Fish. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.

Cartilaginous Fish

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34”-47” | 86-119 cm
5.92’-7.83’ | 1.8-2.39 m
70-180 lb | 32-82 kg
25-35 years
Angel Shark
119.000
239.000
82.000
35.00
21200
3D
Angel Shark
12”-18” | 30.5-46 cm
11.4”-17.7” | 29-45 cm (Disc)
6.6-13.2 lb | 3-6 kg
8-10 years
Atlantic Stingray
46.000
45.000
6.000
10.00
1705
3D
Atlantic Stingray
26”-49” | 66-125 cm
6.6-8.8 lb | 3-4 kg
10-15 years
Australian Ghost Shark
125.000
4.000
15.00
550
3D
Australian Ghost Shark
2”-2.4” | 5-6 cm
31”-34” | 79-86 cm
10-19 lb | 4.5-9 kg
9-15 years
Bahamas Sawshark
6.000
86.000
9.000
15.00
150
3D
Bahamas Sawshark
22’-35’ | 6.7-10.7 m
8800-13200 lb | 4000-6000 kg
Up to 50 years
Basking Shark
1070.000
6000.000
50.00
57000
3D
Basking Shark
7.5”-11.4” | 19-29 cm
4.92’-8’ | 1.5-2.44 m
150-270 lb | 68-122 kg
12-16 years
Blacktip Shark
29.000
244.000
122.000
16.00
19200
3D
Blacktip Shark
8.5’-13’ | 2.6-4 m
120-400 lb | 54-181 kg
15-20 years
Blue Shark
400.000
181.000
20.00
16000
3D
Blue Shark
12.2”-25.2” | 31-64 cm
5’-10’ | 1.52-3.05 m
300-440 lb | 136-200 kg
15-25 years
Bramble Shark
64.000
305.000
200.000
25.00
1850
3D
Bramble Shark
7’-11.5” | 2.1-3.5 m
400-700 lb | 181-318 kg
12-25 years
Bull Shark
350.000
318.000
25.00
56000
3D
Bull Shark
13”-21” | 33-53 cm
19.3”-30.3” | 49-77 cm
30-40 lb | 13.6-18 kg
5-8 years
Clearnose Skate
53.000
77.000
18.000
8.00
1940
3D
Clearnose Skate
10.2”-18.1” | 26-46 cm
16”-28” | 41-71 cm
13.2-28.7 lb | 6-13 kg
16-24 years
Coffin Ray
46.000
71.000
13.000
24.00
2800
3D
Coffin Ray
24”-33” | 61-84 cm
14.6”-20.5” | 37-52 cm (Disc)
11-32 lb | 5-14.5 kg
15-20 years
Common Eagle Ray
84.000
52.000
14.500
20.00
25500
3D
Common Eagle Ray
9.8”-22” | 25-56 cm
30”-64” | 76-163 cm
55-65 lb | 25-29.5 kg
16-24 years
Common Guitarfish
56.000
163.000
29.500
24.00
7310
3D
Common Guitarfish
4.9’-6.6’ | 1.5-2 m
6.6’-9.4’ | 2-2.85 m (Total)
220-330 lb | 100-150 kg
50-55 years
Common Skate
200.000
285.000
150.000
55.00
1600
3D
Common Skate
18”-55” | 46-140 cm
14.6”-44.5” | 37-113 cm (Disc)
31-70.5 lb | 14-32 kg
15-21 years
Common Stingray
140.000
113.000
32.000
21.00
357700
3D
Common Stingray
7.9”-16.1” | 20-41 cm
12”-24” | 30.5-61 cm
11-22 lb | 5-10 kg
10-15 years
Common Torpedo
41.000
61.000
10.000
15.00
550
3D
Common Torpedo
30”-45” | 76-114 cm
18.9”-28.3” | 48-72 cm (Disc)
26.5-50.7 lb | 12-23 kg
13-18 years
Cownose Ray
114.000
72.000
23.000
18.00
12200
3D
Cownose Ray
9’-17’ | 2.74-5.18 m
5.3’-10.17’ | 1.61-3.10 m
661-794 lb | 300-360 kg
15-20 years
Devil Fish
518.000
310.000
360.000
20.00
19500
3D
Devil Fish
1.8”-3” | 4.5-7.5 cm
4’-6.67’ | 1.22-2.03 m
200-300 lb | 91-136 kg
20-25 years
Frilled Shark
7.500
203.000
136.000
25.00
121100
3D
Frilled Shark
6.25’-8’ | 1.91-2.44 m
6.6’-8.5’ | 2-2.6 m (Disc)
794-1,323 lb | 360-600 kg
5-10 years
Giant Freshwater Stingray
244.000
260.000
600.000
10.00
2620
3D
Giant Freshwater Stingray
33.3”-40.6” | 77-103 cm
6.75’-8.83’ | 2.06-2.69 m
275-507 lb | 125-230 kg
16-20 years
Giant Guitarfish
103.000
269.000
230.000
20.00
780
3D
Giant Guitarfish
15’-23’ | 4.6-7 m
15’-23’ | 4.6-7 m
5,300-6,600 lb | 2,400-3,000 kg
18-20 years
Giant Oceanic Manta Ray
700.000
700.000
3000.000
20.00
8900
3D
Giant Oceanic Manta Ray
5’-12.5’ | 1.5-3.8 m
330-463 lb | 150-210 kg
30-35 years
Goblin Shark
380.000
210.000
35.00
82000
3D
Goblin Shark
21”-34.6” | 53-88 cm
12’-20’ | 3.66-6.1 m
510-1,000 lb | 231-454 kg
20-30 years
Great Hammerhead
88.000
610.000
454.000
30.00
13100
3D
Great Hammerhead
11’-21’ | 3.35-6.4 m
1500-2400 lb | 680-1090 kg
30-70 years
Great White Shark
640.000
1090.000
70.00
133000
3D
Great White Shark
12’-24’ | 3.7-7.3 m
1950-2250 lb | 885-1020 kg
300-500 years
Greenland Shark
730.000
1020.000
500.00
55000
3D
Greenland Shark
6.7”-9” | 17-23 cm
36”-48” | 91-122 cm
20-23 lb | 9-10.4 kg
12-25 years
Horn Shark
23.000
122.000
10.400
25.00
8200
3D
Horn Shark
7.5’-11’ | 2.3-3.4 m
190-400 lb | 86-181 kg
25-35 years
Lemon Shark
340.000
181.000
35.00
27000
3D
Lemon Shark
4’-7’ | 1.2-2.1 m
35-45 lb | 16-20 kg
20-30 years
Leopard Shark
210.000
20.000
30.00
15000
3D
Leopard Shark
4.3”-5.1” | 11-13 cm
54”-59” | 137-150 cm
20-30 lb | 9-13.6 kg
10-15 years
Longnose Sawshark
13.000
150.000
13.600
15.00
380
3D
Longnose Sawshark
13’-18’ | 4-5.5 m
2000-2700 lb | 907-1225 kg
Unknown
Megamouth Shark
550.000
1225.000
28000
3D
Megamouth Shark
7.5’-10’ | 2.3-3 m
200-330 lb | 91-150 kg
15-25 years
Nurse Shark
300.000
150.000
25.00
35000
3D
Nurse Shark
15.75”-20.5” | 40-52 cm
10’-13’ | 3.05-3.96 m
200-370 lb | 91-168 kg
25-36 years
Oceanic Whitetip Shark
52.000
396.000
168.000
36.00
13250
3D
Oceanic Whitetip Shark
19.3”-24” | 49-61 cm
12’-14.5’ | 3.66-4.42 m
700-1,960 lb | 318-889 kg
40 years (minimum)
Pacific Sleeper Shark
61.000
442.000
889.000
40.00
4550
3D
Pacific Sleeper Shark
7.9”-10.25” | 20-26 cm
54”-66” | 137-168 cm
13-35 lb | 6-16 kg
25-30 years
Port Jackson Shark
26.000
168.000
16.000
30.00
14150
3D
Port Jackson Shark
9.83’-11.5’ | 3-3.5 m
5’-5.75’ | 1.52-1.75 m
1,543-3,086 lb | 700-1,400 kg
40-50 years
Reef Manta Ray
350.000
175.000
1400.000
50.00
2920
3D
Reef Manta Ray
6.5’-10’ | 2-3 m
485-1000 lb | 220-454 kg
20-30 years
Salmon Shark
300.000
454.000
30.00
11000
3D
Salmon Shark
27.2”-33.1” | 69-84 cm
47”-59” | 119-150 cm
27-35 lb | 12-16 kg
25-35 years
Sand Devil
84.000
150.000
16.000
35.00
1190
3D
Sand Devil
7’-10.5’ | 2.1-3.2 m
200-400 lb | 91-182 kg
10-15 years
Sand Tiger Shark
320.000
182.000
15.00
12000
3D
Sand Tiger Shark
31.1”-46.5” | 79-118 cm
6’-8.83’ | 1.83-2.69 m
187-298 lb | 85-135 kg
10-25 years
Shark Ray
118.000
269.000
135.000
25.00
3350
3D
Shark Ray
11.8”-22” | 30-56 cm
30”-54” | 76-137 cm
40-48.5 lb | 18-22 kg
11-16 years
Shovelnose Guitarfish
56.000
137.000
22.000
16.00
2810
3D
Shovelnose Guitarfish
24”-60” | 61-152 cm
20.5”-52.2” | 52-130 cm (Disc)
160-215 lb | 73-98 kg
12-17 years
Southern Stingray
152.000
130.000
98.000
17.00
2920
3D
Southern Stingray
3.1”-5.5” | 8-14 cm
24”-42” | 61-107 cm
8-22 lb | 3.6-10 kg
30-40 years
Spiny Dogfish
14.000
107.000
10.000
40.00
11200
3D
Spiny Dogfish
9’-10’ | 2.74-3.05 m
5.33’-6’ | 1.62-1.84 m
397-507 lb | 180-230 kg
15-20 years
Spotted Eagle Ray
305.000
184.000
230.000
20.00
11500
3D
Spotted Eagle Ray
10.5’-20’ | 3.2-6.1 m
500-775 lb | 227-352 kg
20-50 years
Thresher Shark
610.000
352.000
50.00
30000
3D
Thresher Shark
10’-14’ | 3-4.3 m
850-2000 lb | 385-907 kg
15-30 years
Tiger Shark
430.000
907.000
30.00
69000
3D
Tiger Shark
30’-62’ | 9.1-18.9 m
41000-50000 (20.6-25 tons) | 18600-22675 kg
70-130 years
Whale Shark
1890.000
22675.000
130.00
110000
3D
Whale Shark
6.5’-11.5’ | 2-3.5 m
45-65 lb | 20-30 kg
20-30 years
Zebra Shark
350.000
30.000
30.00
7100
3D
Zebra Shark
Blue Shark
Scale illustration of an average Blue Shark with dimensions for height and length compared to a human

The Blue Shark (Prionace Glauca) is a shark with blue skin coloring for which they were named from. They are often found in deep waters all over the world from in different temperatures ranging from tropical to cold. Blue Sharks have a lethargic nature, but can move very quickly if necessary.

Blue Sharks typically feed on small fish and squid, but can take on larger prey if needed. Female and male Blue Sharks generally live in different places until they have to mate. They can live up to 20 years. The Blue shark is considered to be endangered.

Blue Sharks have a total length between 8.5’-13’ (2.6-4 m) and an overall weight in the range of 120-400 lb (54-181 kg). The typical lifespan of the Blue Shark is 15-20 years.

Series of elevation illustrations of the Blue Shark
The Blue Shark (Prionace Glauca) is a shark with blue skin coloring for which they were named from. They are often found in deep waters all over the world from in different temperatures ranging from tropical to cold. Blue Sharks have a lethargic nature, but can move very quickly if necessary.

Blue Sharks have a total length between 8.5’-13’ (2.6-4 m) and an overall weight in the range of 120-400 lb (54-181 kg). The typical lifespan of the Blue Shark is 15-20 years.

Series of elevation illustrations of the Blue Shark
Blue Shark
Height:
Width:
Length:
8.5’-13’ | 2.6-4 m
Depth:
Weight:
120-400 lb | 54-181 kg
Area:
Speed
Scientific Name
Prionace glauca
Lifespan
15-20 years

Drawings include:

Blue Shark side elevation, side (perspective), front, top

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Sand Tiger Shark
Scale illustration of an average Sand Tiger Shark with dimensions for height and length compared to a human

The Sand Tiger Shark (Carcharias Taurus), also referred to as the spotted ragged-tooth shark, is a shark species with brown-gray skin with rust color spots on their back and white underside. They are generally found in the shores of subtropical waters like Japan, Australia, South Africa, and the Mediterranean.

Sand Tiger Sharks eat crustaceans, fish, and squid. They are active predators and feed throughout the night by staying close to the bottom. Sand Tiger Sharks are vulnerable to extinction as they have one of the lowest reproduction rates among all sharks.

Sand Tiger Sharks have a total length between 7’-10.5’ (2.1-3.2 m) and an overall weight in the range of 200-400 lb (91-182 kg). The typical lifespan of the Sand Tiger Shark is between 10-15 years.

Series of elevation illustrations of the Sand Tiger Shark
The Sand Tiger Shark (Carcharias Taurus), also referred to as the spotted ragged-tooth shark, has brown-gray skin with rust color spots on their back and white underside. They are generally found in the shores of subtropical waters like Japan, Australia, South Africa, and the Mediterranean.

Sand Tiger Sharks have a total length between 7’-10.5’ (2.1-3.2 m) and an overall weight in the range of 200-400 lb (91-182 kg). The typical lifespan of the Sand Tiger Shark is between 10-15 years.

Series of elevation illustrations of the Sand Tiger Shark
Sand Tiger Shark
Height:
Width:
Length:
7’-10.5’ | 2.1-3.2 m
Depth:
Weight:
200-400 lb | 91-182 kg
Area:
Speed
Scientific Name
Carcharias taurus
Lifespan
10-15 years

Drawings include:

Sand Tiger Shark side elevation, side (perspective), front, top

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Giant Freshwater Stingray (Urogymnus polylepis)
Scale illustration of an average Giant Freshwater Stingray compared to a human and similar rays

The giant freshwater stingray (Himantura chaophraya) is a mysterious fish with very little known about it because it loves to bury itself in the mud at river beds and is also difficult to angle. However, what we know of this fish is it is inquisitive and non-aggressive but can unleash powerful stings that can pierce bone and skin. It's in the family Dasyatidae and presumed to be the largest freshwater fish in Southeast Asia and Borneo rivers and estuaries. The giant freshwater stingray is thin, with an expanded anterior oval pectoral fin disc showing a whip-like tail lacking fin folds, and pointed snout.

Giant Freshwater Stingrays have a total width between 6.25’-8’ (1.91-2.44 m) and overall disc length of 6.6’-8.5’ (2-2.6 m). The typical weight of the Giant Freshwater Stingray is in the range of 794-1,323 lb (360-600 kg). Giant Freshwater Stingrays have lifespans between 5-10 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Giant Freshwater Stingray seen from the side and top
The giant freshwater stingray (Himantura chaophraya) is a mysterious fish with very little known about it because it loves to bury itself in the mud at river beds and is also difficult to angle. However, what we know of this fish is it is inquisitive and non-aggressive.

Giant Freshwater Stingrays have a total width between 6.25’-8’ (1.91-2.44 m) and overall disc length of 6.6’-8.5’ (2-2.6 m). The typical weight of the Giant Freshwater Stingray is in the range of 794-1,323 lb (360-600 kg). Giant Freshwater Stingrays have lifespans between 5-10 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Giant Freshwater Stingray seen from the side and top
Giant Freshwater Stingray (Urogymnus polylepis)
Height:
Width:
6.25’-8’ | 1.91-2.44 m
Length:
6.6’-8.5’ | 2-2.6 m (Disc)
Depth:
Weight:
794-1,323 lb | 360-600 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 1.8-2.5x body length

Scientific Name
Urogymnus polylepis
Lifespan
5-10 years

Drawings include:

Giant Freshwater Stingray side elevation, front, top

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Shovelnose Guitarfish (Pseudobatos productus)
Scale illustration of an average Shovelnose Guitarfish compared to a human and similar rays

It may have both shark and ray features because of a body that resembles a shark but with pectoral fin wing-like, however, the shovelnose guitarfish (Rhinobatos productus) name comes from the guitar-shaped body plus long sharp snout and not the shark and ray characteristics. It is a member of the family Rhinobatidae, native to the Gulf of California, and prefers the soft muddy bottoms of the seafloor. Besides, the fish loves to remain stationary on the sandy bed, aided by its compressed belly and back. These nocturnal ambush predators have a unique breathing system of siphoning water via spiracles on their heads and depressing the water out through gills on their underside.

Shovelnose Guitarfish have a total width between 11.8”-22” (30-56 cm) and overall length of 30”-54” (76-137 cm). The typical weight of the Shovelnose Guitarfish is in the range of 40-48.5 lb (18-22 kg). Shovelnose Guitarfish have lifespans between 11-16 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Shovelnose Guitarfish seen from the side and top
It may have both shark and ray features because of a body that resembles a shark but with pectoral fin wing-like, however, the shovelnose guitarfish (Rhinobatos productus) name comes from the guitar-shaped body plus long sharp snout and not the shark and ray characteristics.

Shovelnose Guitarfish have a total width between 11.8”-22” (30-56 cm) and overall length of 30”-54” (76-137 cm). The typical weight of the Shovelnose Guitarfish is in the range of 40-48.5 lb (18-22 kg). Shovelnose Guitarfish have lifespans between 11-16 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Shovelnose Guitarfish seen from the side and top
Shovelnose Guitarfish (Pseudobatos productus)
Height:
Width:
11.8”-22” | 30-56 cm
Length:
30”-54” | 76-137 cm
Depth:
Weight:
40-48.5 lb | 18-22 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Pseudobatos productus
Lifespan
11-16 years

Drawings include:

Shovelnose Guitarfish side elevation, front, top

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Southern Stingray (Hypanus americanus)
Measured comparison illustration of the size of a Southern Stingray to a typical person and similar rays

The southern stingray (Hypanus americanus) may be a relative of sharks and skates because it is ovoviviparous and prefers to be in solitary or in small groups. The fish is docile and can be tamed and hand-fed, though its audaciousness makes it avoided in the aquarium business. The southern stingray possesses an indistinct head, a slim tail longer than its body length and may be bent and serrated with a venomous spine for self-defense. It fits in the family Dasyatidae with eyes and spiracles on their heads and a flat diamond-shaped disc. The fish is common to the western Atlantic Ocean, mainly in equatorial and subtropical waters.

Southern Stingrays have a total width between 24”-60” (61-152 cm) and overall disc length of 20.5”-52.2” (52-130 cm). The typical weight of the Southern Stingray is in the range of 160-215 lb (73-98 kg). Southern Stingrays have lifespans between 12-17 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Southern Stingray in top and side poses
The southern stingray (Hypanus americanus) may be a relative of sharks and skates because it is ovoviviparous and prefers to be in solitary or in small groups. The fish is docile and can be tamed and hand-fed, though its audaciousness makes it avoided in the aquarium business.

Southern Stingrays have a total width between 24”-60” (61-152 cm) and overall disc length of 20.5”-52.2” (52-130 cm). The typical weight of the Southern Stingray is in the range of 160-215 lb (73-98 kg). Southern Stingrays have lifespans between 12-17 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Southern Stingray in top and side poses
Southern Stingray (Hypanus americanus)
Height:
Width:
24”-60” | 61-152 cm
Length:
20.5”-52.2” | 52-130 cm (Disc)
Depth:
Weight:
160-215 lb | 73-98 kg
Area:

Tail Length: 1.8-2x body length

Scientific Name
Hypanus americanus
Lifespan
12-17 years

Drawings include:

Southern Stingray side elevation, front, top

Details & Downloads

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