Morphology Data of Carcharhinus leucas
Identification keys
Main Ref. Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale, 1989
Appearance refers to
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs
Different appearance
Different colors

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features
Body shape lateral fusiform / normal
Cross section
Dorsal head profile
Type of eyes
Type of mouth/snout
Position of mouth sub-terminal/inferior
Type of scales placoid scales

Diagnosis: Carcharhinus leucas is a massive shark with a short, broad and blunt snout, small eyes and triangular saw-edged upper teeth, and lack of interdorsal ridge, characters which are sufficient to distinguish this species (Ref. 26938).

Description: A large carcharhinid characterized by its massive body, a very short and rounded snout and tiny, round eyes (Ref. 81283, 81623). Labial folds rudimentary, nasal flap broadly triangular (Ref. 81623). Teeth in the upper jaw are upright, strongly serrated, triangular and broad at their bases, with strongly denticulate edges; teeth in the lower jaw are more slender and pointed, their edges finely denticulate (Ref. 12484, 81283, 81623). Symphysial teeth present on both jaws; tooth formula 12-14/12-13 on each side of jaws (Ref. 81623). Spiracles absent, posterior lateral gill-slits overlapping origin of pectoral fins (Ref. 81623). First dorsal fin broad and triangular, slightly convex anteriorly but with a concave posterior margin; distinctly smaller than the second, less than 3.2 times height of second dorsal fin; beginning slightly before anal-fin origin; no interdorsal ridge (Ref. 5578, 81253, 81283, 81623). Second dorsal fin much smaller than first, situated over anal fin (Ref. 81623). Pectoral fins rather large and broad (Ref. 81623). Posterior margin of anal fin strongly concave (Ref. 81623). Precaudal vertebral centra 101-103, total vertebral centra 198-227 (Ref. 81623).

Colouration: The colour of the body is predominantly grey with a pale to white underside (Ref. 5578, 12484, 81623). Juveniles have black tips to their fins, which fade with age (Ref. 9997, 12484).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Carcharhinus leucas

Lateral Lines Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only) 5absent
Gill rakers
on lower limb
on upper limb


Dorsal fin(s)

Attributes no striking attributes
Fins number 2
Finlets No. Dorsal   0 - 0
Ventral  0 - 0
Spines total 0 - 0
Soft-rays total 0 - 0
Adipose fin absent

Caudal fin

Attributes heterocercal; asymmetric

Anal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Spines total 0 - 0
Soft-rays total 0 - 0

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  more or less normal
Spines     0
Soft-rays   0 - 0
Pelvics Attributes  more or less normal
Position    abdominal  behind origin of D1
Spines     0
Soft-rays   0 - 0
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Garilao, Cristina V.
Modified by Bailly, Nicolas
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cfm script by eagbayani, 17.10.00, php script by rolavides, 13/03/08 ,  last modified by sortiz, 06.27.17