We’ve spoken in length about bull sharks here at The Fins United Initiative. Well, we’re about to introduce you to one of their cousins, also in the Carcharhinidae family: the pigeye shark (Carcharhinus amboinensis). Sometimes known as the “java shark” (they like a good cup of Joe?), these requiem sharks aren’t as common as their cousins… brethrens… whatever.
They look a lot alike (although pigeye sharks have no recorded human attacks). Both bull sharks and pigeye sharks are robust and bulky, sporting a grey color on their dorsal side and a white belly, with a pale band on the flanks (sides). They have small eyes and a short, blunt snout… actually, with this description, doesn’t it sound exactly like the bull shark?
We’re liking the color “grey” lately. Specifically, the grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos). Side note: Sometimes that last part is misspelled.
And, of course, they have a number of common names: “bronze whaler,” “grey shark,” “grey whaler shark,” “longnose blacktail shark,” “shortnose blacktail shark” (which, um, hello, don’t those two contradict each other) and “Fowler’s whaler shark” are a few that come to mind.
Also to keep in mind: these names can apply to other shark species. Confused, much? Welcome to science, where the complicated things are. (That should be its slogan.)
A few weeks ago I was at my old high school giving a talk about sharks. Students were asking about different social behaviors exhibited in sharks and I decided to show my two favorites: oceanic white tip shark and the whitetip reef shark. These two sharks are superbly different, yet they get confused a lot. As I was showing the whitetip reef shark’s shark bio up on the projector, the teacher (a good friend of mine) stopped me and read out loud (from the captions I had), “Actually, now that I think about it, the white tips kind of remind me of the “frosted tips” phase in the 90’s… hee. Funny mental image of white tip reef sharks being in a 90’s boy band. Back Street Boys. N*Sharks. You get the drift. Wait, wait, wait, I have another one: Shark Street.”
He looked back at me once he was done and burst out laughing. "Typical Melissa." So, why do I bring this up?
Well, I found the shark missing from Shark Street, guys. Everyone, meet the silvertip shark (Carcharhinus albimarginatus).
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
SEARCH BY CATEGORIES