Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; brackish; reef-associated; depth range 0 - 130 m (Ref. 43278), usually 1 - 35 m (Ref. 40849). Subtropical; 44°N - 35°S, 122°W - 10°E (Ref. 247)
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 230 - 240 cm
Max length : 430 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 247); common length : 304 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 247); max. published weight: 109.6 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 25 years (Ref. 72467)
Morphology | Morphometrics
(total): 0. Moderately long barbels, nasoral grooves present but no perinasal grooves, mouth well in front of eyes, spiracles minute, precaudal tail shorter than head and body, dorsal fins broadly rounded (the first much larger than the second and anal fins), caudal fin moderately long, over 1/4 of total length, yellow-brown to grey-brown in color, with or without small dark spots and obscure dorsal saddle markings (Ref. 247). Head blunt, mouth inferior, pair of conspicuous barbels between nostrils (Ref. 26938).
Western Atlantic: Rhode Island, USA to southern Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, Antilles. Eastern Atlantic: Cape Verde to Gabon; accidental to France. Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California and southern Baja California, Mexico to Peru. Closely related species are found in the Indian Ocean.
Found on continental and insular shelves. Solitary (Ref. 26340) and sluggish fish, often encountered lying on the bottom (Ref. 9987). Nocturnal, feeding on bottom invertebrates such as spiny lobsters, shrimps, crabs, sea urchins, squids, octopi, snails and bivalves, and fishes like catfishes, mullets, puffers and stingrays. Ovoviviparous with 21 to 28 young in a litter (Ref. 9987, 43278). Kept in captivity for researches. May attack humans if they are molested or stepped upon accidentally. Edible, but mainly valued for its hide, which makes extremely tough and durable leather (Ref. 9987). Common over shallow sand flats, in channels, and around coral reefs; young may be found among prop roots of red mangroves (Ref. 26938).
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 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/1):1-249. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 247)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Traumatogenic (Ref. 4690)
Fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: public aquariums
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 1.1250 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00457 (0.00177 - 0.01179), b=3.10 (2.87 - 3.33), based on LWR estimates for this Subfamily-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.8 ±0.5 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.14; tmax=25; Fec=21-28).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High to very high vulnerability (69 of 100) .