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NEFSC Apex Predators Program

bignose shark Bignose shark

BIGNOSE SHARK

Carcharhinus altimus

SIZE

To about 9 ft (2.7 m).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Snout long and bluntly pointed to rounded, as long as or longer than width of mouth
  • First dorsal fin large, originating over pectoral fin insertion to midlength of pectoral fin inner margin
  • Pectoral fins long, nearly straight
  • Color gray to grayish-brown above, white below
  • Interdorsal ridge

DISTRIBUTION

New Jersey to Venezuela, including Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

HABITAT

Offshore, deeper water near edge of continental shelf, 300-1,410 ft (91-430 m); bottom dwelling; juveniles occasionally in shallower water up to 80 ft (24 m).

SIMILAR SPECIES

Sandbar shark, silky shark, and dusky shark have shorter snouts. Silky shark and dusky shark have first dorsal fins originating farther back, over or behind free tips of pectoral fins. Silky shark has second dorsal fin with free tip length usually more than twice fin height. Blacktip shark and bull shark lack interdorsal ridges.

MORE INFORMATION

Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History


Guide to Sharks, Tunas, & Billfishes of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Text descriptions taken from:
Guide to Sharks, Tunas, & Billfishes
of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

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(File Modified Aug. 08 2017)