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sand tiger shark Sand tiger shark

SAND TIGER SHARK

Carcharias taurus

SIZE

To about 10.5 ft (3.2 m).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • First dorsal fin far back on body, closer to pelvic fins than pectoral fins
  • First and second dorsal and anal fins nearly equal in size
  • Snout flattened, with long mouth extending behind eyes
  • Color gray to light brown above, grayish-white below; often with brownish spots scattered on body; yellowish-brown spots on juveniles
  • Teeth large, needlelike, protruding from mouth, with 1-2 small cusplets
  • No interdorsal ridge

DISTRIBUTION

Gulf of Maine to Florida, including Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, and Bermuda.

HABITAT

Coastal; surf zone and shallow bays to outer shelves; generally bottom dwelling.

SIMILAR SPECIES

Lemon shark has teeth without cusps; first dorsal fin farther forward, closer to pectoral fins than pelvic fins. Nurse shark has nasal barbels; lacks distinct lower lobe of caudal fin.

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)