One of the smallest members of the requiem shark family, the tope is an active and highly sought species within its extensive range.
The tope has a slender body; a prominent, long, pointed snout; long pectoral fins; and a large and strong tail fin with a large lower lobe. It is a bottom-roaming inhabitant of inshore environs that commonly weighs from 20 to 40 pounds but may grow as large as 75 pounds and can exceed 5 feet in length. It is reported to live as long as 55 years. Despite its size, it is favorably regarded by anglers for its vigorous fight.
Tope occur in all oceans. In the eastern Pacific, they range from British Columbia to southern Baja California, Mexico, including the Gulf of California, and also Peru and Chile.