Carcharias taurus  Rafinesque, 1810

Sand tiger shark
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Image of Carcharias taurus (Sand tiger shark)
Carcharias taurus
Picture by Choromanski, J.M.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Lamniformes (Mackerel sharks) > Odontaspididae (Sand tigers)
Etymology: Carcharias: Greek, karcharos = sharpen (Ref. 45335).   More on author: Rafinesque.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; reef-associated; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 1 - 191 m (Ref. 247), usually 15 - 25 m (Ref. 43278).   Subtropical; 45°N - 48°S, 100°W - 155°E

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 220 - 230 cm
Max length : 320 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5213); common length : 250 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 6077); max. published weight: 158.8 kg (Ref. 40637)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 0. A shark with a short, pointed snout, small eyes, protruding spike-like teeth and small, equal-sized dorsal and anal fins; 1st dorsal fin closer to pelvic than to pectoral fins (Ref. 5578). Caudal fin with a pronounced subterminal notch and a short ventral lobe (Ref. 13575). Pale brown or grey, paler below, with dark spots that appear faded in adults; fins plain (Ref. 6586).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions | Faunafri

Circumtropical: Except perhaps the eastern Pacific (Ref. 13568). Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea and off South Africa to Japan, Korea and Australia (Ref. 13568). Present in Arafura Sea (Ref. 9819). Western Atlantic: Gulf of Maine to Argentina. Old record from Bermuda, south Brazil (Ref. 26938). Eastern Atlantic: Mediterranean to Cameroon. Northwest Atlantic: Canada (Ref. 5951).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

A common littoral shark found inshore from the surf zone and in shallow bays to at least 191 m on the outer continental shelves (Ref. 13568). Often on or near the bottom but also occurs in midwater or at the surface (Ref. 247). Only shark known to gulp and store air in its stomach to maintain neutral buoyancy while swimming (Ref. 13568). Found singly or in small to large schools (Ref. 247). Feeds on bony fishes, small sharks, rays, squids, crabs, and lobsters (Ref. 5578). Ovoviviparous, embryos feeding on yolk sac and other ova produced by the mother as well as other siblings in the womb (uterine cannibalism) (Ref. 50449). Usually gives birth to 2 pups after a 9-12 months gestation period (Ref.58048). A migratory species in parts of its range, particularly in its northern and southern extremities where pronounced poleward migration occur in the summer and equatorial movements in autumn and winter (Ref. 247). Usually inoffensive and not aggressive when not provoked (Ref. 247) but has known to bite swimmers and be aggressive towards divers with speared fish (Ref. 6586). Utilized for fresh, frozen, smoked and dried for human consumption (Ref. 247); also for fishmeal, liver oil, fins, and hides for leather (Ref. 13568). Flesh highly appreciated in Japan (Ref. 36731).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Compagno, Leonard J.V. | Collaborators

Last, P.R. and J.D. Stevens, 1994. Sharks and rays of Australia. CSIRO, Australia. 513 p.

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)

  Vulnerable (VU) (A2ab+3d)

Threat to humans

  Traumatogenic (Ref. 4690)




Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on empirical models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.8125   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01100 (0.00417 - 0.02903), b=3.03 (2.80 - 3.26), based on LWR estimates for this Subfamily-BS (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.8 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Fec=2; K=0.14-0.17; tmax=17).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  High to very high vulnerability (68 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.