Species: Sand Tiger Shark (Carcharias taurus)
Sand Shark Family (Odontaspididae)
Sand tiger shark is a relatively docile and slow-moving shark, reaching over 10 ft long and 350 lbs. It has a sharp pointy head, small eyes (which lack eyelids), flattened conical snout, a mouth that extends beyond the eyes, and a bulky body. Usually swims with its mouth open displaying three rows of protruding, smooth-edged, sharp-pointed teeth. Its body is brownish gray above and white below. It has reddish-brown spots scattered around its upper and side body. Two large, broad-based dorsal fins are set back beyond the pectoral fins. Pectoral (side) fins are triangular. Tail is oblong with a notched, upper lobe that is significantly longer than the lobe below. Juveniles have yellow-brown spots on their bodies. Females have 2 uteri. During pregnancy, the most developed embryo will feed upon its siblings, a reproductive strategy known as intrauterine cannibalism; thus, usually two 3-ft long, fully independent offspring are born. Has one of the lowest reproduction rates of all sharks. Found in warm or temperate coastal waters worldwide (except the eastern Pacific), along shorelines, sandy beaches, estuaries, shallow bays, and rocky or tropical reefs. Does migrate, but not great distances. Eats mostly fish (especially bony fish), young sharks, crustaceans, squid, and skates. Usually eats its prey whole. An active night feeder, it prefers to hunt close to shore. Groups have been observed to hunt large schools of fish. Unlike other sharks, it can gulp air from the surface and store it in its stomach to provide buoyancy. Also known as grey nurse shark, spotted ragged tooth shark, and blue-nurse sand tiger.
Listed: Species of Concern by the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service; Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List
Copyright Brett Miley