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 Spinner shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna)

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Spinner shark
No image of Spinner shark found in the Shark Database
 Range Map

Earth Map


Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

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


Scientific: Carcharhinus brevipinna
German: Spinnerhai, Langnasenhai
English: Spinner shark, Longnose grey shark, Inkytail shark, Smoothfang shark
French: Requin tisserand
Spanish: Tiburón aleta negra


Large and slender shark with a long and pointed snout. Small eyes. First dorsal fin is small and semifalcate. Origin of first dorsal fin usually over or slightly posterior to pectoral free rear tip. No interdorsal ridge.


Grey-bronze coloration, white belly. Most often with a narrow, white band on flanks, sometimes not conspicuous. Large juveniles and adults with black tips on pectoral fins, second dorsal fin, anal and ventral caudal lobe, and sometimes on pelvic fin, first dorsal and fin and dorsal caudal lobe, too.


Wide range, nearly world-wide. Western Atlantic: Northern Carolina to Florida, Bahamas and Cuba (probably not in the Caribbean). Northern Gulf of Mexico. Southern Brazil. Eastern Atlantic: Mediterranean, Cape Verde Islands, Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and down to Angola. Indo-Western Pacific: South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Mozambique, Red Sea, India, Singapore and Indonesia. Japan, New Guinea, Australia, and possibly the Philippines. Missing around central Pacific Islands.


A fast swimming, very active, schooling shark that often leaps spinning out of the water (hence its name) to catch prey. It swims rapidly upward through schools of fishes with an open mouth, spinning along its long axis and snapping in all directions, then it penetrates the surface after its feeding run. Often found in coastal to pelagic, warm-temperate and tropical regions of continental and insular shelves. Common in shallow waters at a depth of less than 30 m (max. down to 75 m depth). Sometimes highly migratory.


Feeds primarily on fishes (sardines, herrings, anchovies, lizardfishes, tunas, bonitos...) but small sharks and rays, too.


Average size about 195 cm and 56 kg, maximum close to 280 cm (females).


Viviparous species, with yolksac-placenta. 3 to 15 pups per litter. Pups are born in coastal waters and have a birth size between 60 and 75 cm, and have a fast growth rate. Males mature between 160 cm to 200 cm, females mature between 170 to 200 cm. Gestation period of 12 to 15 months. Different birth periods are known.

 Similar Species

Several similar species but the very dark tip of the anal fin is very distinguishable. Mostly mistaken for the Blacktip shark that possesses a light colored anal fin.


Status in the IUCN Red List(1994):

Main criterion: > LR/nt (Low Risk/Near Threatened (1994))
Sub criterion:
Trend: Unknown

 Danger to Humans

This species is not dangerous to human beings, although it could be troublesome to divers when spearfishing.

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