Home|Search|Identify|Taxonomic tree|Quiz|About this site|Feedback
Developed by ETI BioInformatics
Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
Synonyms and common names
Literature references
Images, audio and video
Links to other Web sites

Author: (Müller and Henle, 1839)

Field Marks:
A large, stout grey shark with a very short, bluntly rounded snout, small eyes, broadly triangular serrated teeth in upper jaw, extremely heavy, slightly narrower cusped teeth with arched roots in lower jaw, upper teeth without cusplets, usually 12/11 rows of anteroposterior teeth, no interdorsal ridge, large angular pectoral fins, a large triangular first dorsal with a short rear tip and a small second dorsal with a short rear tip, fins with dusky tips but not strikingly marked.

Diagnostic Features:
A large, stocky to very heavy-bodied species (up to about 2.8 m). Snout very short and bluntly and broadly rounded; internarial width 0.9 to 1 times in preoral length; eyes circular and small, their length 0.7 to 1.5% of total length; upper labial furrows short and inconspicuous; hyomandibular line of pores iust behind mouth corners not conspicuously enlarged; gill slits moderately long, the third 2.9 to 3.8% of total length but less than a third of first dorsal base; usually 12/11 rows of anteroposterior teeth in each jaw half but varying from 11 to 13/10 to 12; upper teeth with broad, triangular, strongly serrated, erect to slightly oblique cusps, that merge smoothly with the coarsely serrated crown feet, but with no cusplets; lower teeth with erect semioblique, very broad serrated cusps and arched roots. No interdorsal ridge. First dorsal fin large and broadly triangular or somewhat falcate, with pointed or sharply rounded apex and posterior margin curving ventrally or posteroventrally from fin apex; origin of first dorsal fin over or just behind pectoral insertions; inner margin of first dorsal short, less than a third of dorsal base or slightly less; second dorsal fin moderate-sized, its height 2.8 to 3.6% of total length, its inner margin short and 0.9 to 1.3 times its height; origin of second dorsal anterior to anal origin; pectoral fins large and broad, triangular to semifalcate, with narrow, pointed apices, length of anterior margins about 20 to 24% of total length; 185 to 195 total vertebral centra, 89 to 95 precaudal centra. Colour grey above, light below, fin tips dusky, especially in young, but not strikingly marked; an inconspicuous white band on flank.

Geographical Distribution:
Eastern North Atlantic: Nigeria. Indo-West Pacific: South Africa, Madagascar, Gulf of Aden, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia (Java, Amboina, Aru and Lomblen Islands), Australia (Queensland, New South Wales).

Habitat and Biology:
An inshore species of the continental and insular shelves, common in shallow waters close inshore, near the surf line and along beaches, from 0 to 60 m depth. In the southeastern Indian Ocean it is far less common on the western side of the Mozambique channel than C. leucas, but the reverse may apply to the eastern side off Madagascar, where it is described as abundant and C. leucas is apparently rare. It is thought that competitive exclusion may be operational here, but this is uncertain.

Apparently viviparous, but little is known of its reproductive biology.

Preys primarily on bottom fishes, crustaceans and molluscs. Takes bony fishes, including croakers, soles, and hairtails, sharp-nosed sharks and other species, skates, shrimp, cuttlefish, sea snails and whale meat probably as carrion.

This species should be considered as potentially dangerous because of its size and proportionately large jaws and teeth. However, no shark attacks can be attributed to it.

Maximum 280 cm, males maturing at about 195 cm, females maturing at about 198 to 223 cm; size at birth about 71 to 72 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Details of fisheries catching this species are sketchy, but apparently taken by longlines in the western Indian Ocean. Utilized fresh for human consumption.

The pigeye shark has generally been confused with C. leucas and Glyphis gangeticus. Characters distinguishing it from leucas are listed under the latter species. This species differs from G. gangeticus by the characters differentiating C. leucas from it (see remarks under that species), but additionally has even broadercusped lower teeth and an even smaller first dorsal fin.

Triaenodon obtusus Day, 1878 has generally been considered a member of that genus (Taniuchi, 1975, Randall, 1977, Compagno, 1979), but examination of the holotype in the Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta (ZSI 2277, ca. 48 cm skin in alcohol, from Karachi, Pakistan), revealed that the species is based on a term fetus of Carcharhinus amboinensis (see also the account of the genus Triaenodon).

Type material:
Holotype: Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie, Leiden, RHN 2582, stuffed female about 740 mm. Type Locality: Amboina.

Pigeye shark (Carcharhinus amboinensis)