Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Carcharhiniformes
(Ground sharks) > Carcharhinidae
Etymology: Carcharhinus: Greek, karcharos = sharpen + Greek, rhinos = nose (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 230 m (Ref. 58302), usually 0 - 152 m (Ref. 55185). Subtropical; 18°C - 28°C (Ref. 244), preferred 28°C (Ref. 107945); 46°N - 43°S, 180°W - 180°E (Ref. 6871)
Cosmopolitan (Ref. 26340). Western Atlantic: Maine, USA to Argentina; also in Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean (Ref. 26938). Eastern Atlantic: Portugal to Gulf of Guinea; possibly occurring in the Mediterranean. Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahiti and Tuamoto islands. Eastern Pacific: southern California, USA to Peru, including the Galapagos. Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139).
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 180 - 200 cm
Max length : 400 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 89972); common length : 270 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9253); max. published weight: 167.4 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 22 years (Ref. 31395)
soft rays: 0. A stocky shark with a huge, rounded 1st dorsal fin, and long, wide-tipped pectoral fins; snout bluntly rounded; upper teeth triangular; interdorsal ridge present (Ref. 5578). Back usually dark grey with a bronze tinge, sometimes brown or bluish; belly whitish, sometimes with a yellow tinge; tips off first dorsal, pectorals, and lower lobe of caudal often white or with white spots (sometimes absent); ventral surface of pelvic fins, apices of anal and second dorsal, and ventral lobe of caudal often with black spots; black or dusky saddle-marks in front of second dorsal, upper margin of caudal and between dorsal fins (especially in young) (Ref. 9997).
An oceanic deep-water species which sometimes comes close to shore (Ref. 244). Found surface to depths of at least 150 m (Ref. 26938). Epipelagic usually over water depths of >184 meters (Ref. 58302). Frequently accompanied by Remora, Coryphaena, pilot fishes (Ref. 30573), and tortoises. Feeds oceanic bony fishes, also threadfins, stingrays, sea turtles, sea birds, gastropods, squid, crustaceans, mammalian carrion and garbage (Ref. 5578), including tuna and mahimahi (Ref. 1602, 37816). Viviparous (Ref. 50449). There is pronounced partial segregation by size and sex in some areas. This is an active, almost fearless shark also charged in human attacks (Ref. 244). Probably responsible for many open-ocean attacks after air or sea disasters (Ref. 6871). Utilized fresh, frozen (Ref. 9987), smoked, and dried-salted for human consumption; hides for leather, fins for fin soup, liver oil for vitamins, also processed into fishmeal (Ref. 244). 1 to 15 young, 60 to 65 cm, are born per litter (Ref. 1602).
Viviparous, placental (Ref. 50449). Litter size 1-15 pups; 60-65 cm at birth (Ref. 244). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205).
Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2 - Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/2):251-655. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 244)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01072 (0.00655 - 0.01752), b=3.06 (2.92 - 3.20), based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.2 ±0.4 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (K=0.1(?); tm=5; tmax=22; Fec=1).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High to very high vulnerability (75 of 100) .