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Tiger Shark Galeocerdo cuvier


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Tiger Shark
credit: albert kok/CCSA

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Family: Carcharhinidae, Requiem Sharks view all from this family

Description One of the largest sharks in existence, considered second most dangerous to humans, next to great white shark. Color ranges from blue to light green with white or light yellow underbelly. Young sharks have dark spots and stripes which fade into adulthood. Wedge-shaped head with similar notched and serrated teeth in both jaws, which are continually replaced by new rows. Long fins, long upper tail, high back and dorsal fin. Dorsal fins are distinctively close to its tail. Swims using small body movements and can spin quickly on its axis.

Dimensions Up to 18' (5.5 m); 1,780 lbs (807 kg).

Warning The Tiger Shark is considered one of the most dangerous sharks. It is said to be responsible for more attacks on humans than any other shark except the White Shark, possibly because it frequently enters very shallow water. It has been especially problematic in the West Indies and Caribbean.

Habitat Open ocean, Ocean or bay shallows, Estuaries, tidal flats & salt marshes.

Range New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Florida, Texas, California.

Discussion Small pits on the side of their upper bodies hold electroreceptors called the ampullae of Lorenzini, enabling them to detect electric fields, including the bio-electricity generated by prey. Also have a lateral line which extends on their flanks down most of the length of their sides - detects vibrations in the water. Reflective layer behind the Tiger shark's retina called the tapetum lucidum enhances vision in low light conditions.