NIGHT SHARK

Carcharinus signatus
Family: Carcharhinidae

Description: Gray-brown coloration and white underbelly with a long, pointed snout. Front of the small first dorsal fin that begins over its small pectoral fins. Both dorsal fins are small with long trailing edges. Distinguished by its large eyes. Interdorsal ridge present.

Distribution and Habitat: Found in the western Atlantic from Delaware (US) to Argentina. Found rarely in the eastern Atlantic along the west coast of Africa. Occurs in mostly deepwater pelagic and oceanic regions near outer continental shelves from depths of 0 m to 600 m.

Size: Maximum length of 276 cm total length. Size at birth ranges from 60-72 cm total length.

Reproduction: Placental viviparity with a yolk-sac placenta. Litter size of 4-15 pups with an average of 11 pups. Males reach sexual maturity around 185-190 cm total length; females mature at 200-205 cm total length.

Lifespan: 25 years.

Diet: Small, active bony fishes, squid and shrimp.

IUCN Status: Endangered as of June 2019.

Human Pressures: Caught as bycatch primarily on pelagic longlines set by commercial fisheries. While the night shark is not a targeted species, bycatch is often retained due to their valuable fins. At their southern range, they are subject to fishing pressure from unmanaged artisanal fisheries. Catch from longlines and gillnets result in high mortality upon capture, with as large as 76% mortality from pelagic longlines.

NIGHT SHARK