Most sharks have sand-paper like skin; if you get too close, you might end up with "shark burn" from the dermal denticles rubbing up against your fragile skin.
However, Carcharhinus falciformis has a softer feel than most. The genus name, Carcharhinus is Greek from karcharos meaning "sharpen" and rhinos meaning "nose." This is in relation to their long, rounded snout. They are rather large (with a max length of 3.3 m/10 ft) and slender, with a dark gray/bronze dorsal color and white underbelly. The tips of their fins are dark, too, minus the first dorsal fin.
This shark is commonly found in the tropical, epipelagic waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Although usually pelagic (being caught as deep as 4,000 m/12,400 ft), they are known to also venture shallow waters of up to 18 m (56 ft). They’re active swimmers found patrolling deep water reefs or continental shelves. They tend to school with others of similar size, with smaller sharks being found in coastal nurseries or around schools of tuna.
This shark loves to feast on a number of bony fish such as tuna, albacore, mullet, mackerel and porcupine fish to name a few. They also enjoy cephalopods and various crabs. Yummy!
They are viviparous, with females in the western Atlantic giving birthday in May/June alternating years. The gestation period lasts about 12 months. Shark litter numbers range from 6-14 pups in the western Atlantic, 9-12 pups in the eastern Atlantic, 9-14 pups in the western Indian, and 2-11 pups in the central Indian.
It’s one of the most fished sharks in numerous fisheries around the world (specifically Maldives, Sri Lanka and Caribbean), and has been used in various experiments to study the sensory biology of sharks (1,2,3,4).
Due to its range, it causes little threat to the average human; it has been known to display threat postures to warn divers/free divers to get out. Like most sharks, they are vulnerable to overfishing due to its long gestation period, low number of offspring and slow growth rate. However, they are currently listed as Near Threatened (NT) by the IUCN.
have you seen these sharks?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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