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NEFSC Apex Predators Program

silky shark Silky shark

SILKY SHARK

Carcharhinus falciformis

SIZE

To about 11 ft (3.4 m).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Second dorsal fin with long free tip, usually more than twice fin height
  • First dorsal fin rounded, swept back, originating behind free tips of sickle-shaped pectoral fins
  • Color gray-brown or bronze above, white below
  • Interdorsal ridge

DISTRIBUTION

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

HABITAT

Offshore, over deepwater reefs and near continental and insular slopes, primarily surface waters; juveniles closer to shore.

SIMILAR SPECIES

Dusky shark has blunter snout, smaller eyes, second dorsal free tip length rarely more than twice fin height. Sandbar shark and bignose shark have higher first dorsal fins placed farther forward, closer to pectoral fins. Night shark has green eyes, longer snout, charecteristic teeth. Blacktip shark and spinner 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)