BULL SHARK

Carcharhinus leucas
Family: Carcharhinidae

Description: Large, stout bodies with a broad head and small eyes. Greyish in color with a white underside. Dusky fin tips mostly prominent in juveniles. Large angular pectoral fins, triangular first dorsal fin, and a small second dorsal fin. No interdorsal ridge present.

Distribution and Habitat: Occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters with seasonal occurrences in cool temperate waters. Found in both salt and freshwaters. Inhabits coastal inshore waters on continental and occasionally insular shelves as well as estuaries and freshwaters such as rivers. Typically found in waters 0-30 meters deep but have been observed at depths of 150 meters.

Size: Maximum size of 340 cm total length. Size at birth is 56-81 cm total length.

Reproduction: Viviparous with a yolk-sac placenta. Litter size of 1-13 pups born in estuaries and rivers after a gestation period of 10-11 months. Males reach sexual maturity at 157-226 cm total length, and females mature at 180-230 cm total length.

Life span: maximum age is estimated to be around 27 years.

Diet: Very diverse diet consisting of bony fishes and other teleosts, smaller elasmobranchs, turtles, birds, dolphins, crustaceans and other animals that are small enough for a bull shark to eat.

Status: Near threatened.

Human pressures: Because the bull shark is euryhaline, its presence in both fresh- and saltwater means that it is subject to increased human-induced environmental changes across habitats. Bull sharks are caught in commercial and recreational fisheries primarily as a bycatch species although they are occasionally targeted and killed for their fins.

BULL SHARK