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 Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis)

  Index
> Photo
> Range Map
> Systematics
> Name
> Appearance
> Coloration
> Distribution
> Biology
> Feeding
> Size
> Reproduction
> Similar Species
> Endangerment
> Danger to Humans

 Photo

Galapagos shark
© Doug Perrine / Sea Pics
 Range Map

Earth Map


 Systematics

Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

Class: Carlilagenous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)
  Order: Ground sharks (Carcharhiniformes)
    Family: Requiem sharks (Carcharhinidae)
      Genus: Carcharhinus (Carcharhinus)


 Name

Scientific: Carcharhinus galapagensis
German: Galapagoshai
English: Galapagos shark
French: Requin des Galapagos
Spanish: Tiburón de Galapagos


 Appearance

Large shark with a moderately long broadly rounded snout. Origin of the first dorsal fin over the mid lengths of inner margins of the pectoral fins. A low interdorsal ridge is present.

 Coloration

Brownish-grey upper body, white ventral surface. The tips of most fins are dusky but not black. An inconspicuous white band on the flanks can be seen.

 Distribution

Contrarily to the name they can be found circumtropical but generally associated with oceanic islands. Western North Atlantic: Bermuda, Virgin Islands and some other Caribbean Islands. Central and Eastern Atlantic: Madeira, possibly of Portugal, Cape Verde, Ascension, St. Helena and Sao Thome Islands. Southwestern Indian Ocean: Madagascar. Western central Pacific: Middleton, Marshall Islands, Tuamoto Archipelago, Hawaiian Islands. E astern Pacific: Galapagos Islands, Cocos Islands, Malpelo Islands, also coasts of southern Baja California, Guatemala and Colombia.

 Biology

Prefers clear water, coral reefs and rocky bottoms, and often swims a few meters above the substrate. A common but habitat-limited species, occurs in depth of 2 m but ranges to the open ocean adjacent to islands, from the surface to at least 80 m. Juveniles seem to be restricted to shallow waters, 25 m or less, which they apparently use as nursery grounds, while the adults range offshore. They are found in aggregations but apparently do not form co-ordinated schools.

 Feeding

Feeds primarily on bottom living fishes (eel, flatfish, triggerfish). Also feeds on flyingfish and squid, as well as garbage.

 Size

Reaching over 300 cm, possibly 370 cm maximum (females).

 Reproduction

Viviparous with yolksac-placenta. 6 to 16 pups per litter. Size at birth between 60 and 80 cm. Males mature between 170 and 230 cm, females mature at about 230 cm.

 Similar Species

Close resemblance to the Dusky shark but duskies usually have taller dorsal fins.

 Endangerment

Status in the IUCN Red List(Version 2001):

Main criterion: > NT (Near Threatened)
Sub criterion:
Trend: Unknown


 Danger to Humans

Potentially dangerous species. Galapagos sharks perform a "hunch" threat display, with an arched back, raised head, and lowered caudal and pectoral fins, while swimming in a conspicuous twisting, rolling motion.



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