Contact Us

Apex Predators Program
NOAA/NMFS/NEFSC
28 Tarzwell Drive
Narragansett RI 02882-1152 USA

Email us

NEFSC Apex Predators Program

bull shark Bull shark

BULL SHARK

Carcharhinus leucas

SIZE

To about 11.5 ft (3.5 m).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • First dorsal fin large, triangular, rearward sloping, originating over or slightly behind pectoral insertion
  • Snout much shorter than width of mouth and bluntly rounded
  • Eyes small
  • Body stocky to heavy, especially in adults
  • Color pale to dark gray above, white below
  • No interdorsal ridge

DISTRIBUTION

New York to Brazil, including Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Rare north of Delaware.

HABITAT

Primarily shallow coastal water; common in lagoons, bays, river mouths; often enters far into fresh water.

SIMILAR SPECIES

Sandbar shark, dusky shark, and bignose shark have interdorsal ridges; do not occur in fresh water. Sandbar shark and blacktip shark have first dorsal fins that are erect, not rearward sloping. Blacktip shark has black-tipped fins; does not occur in fresh water.

MORE INFORMATION

Henry Mollet's Elasmobranch Research


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

www.nefsc.noaa.gov
NMFS Search
Link Disclaimer
webMASTER
Privacy Policy
(File Modified Aug. 08 2017)