TIGER SHARK

Galeocerdo cuvier
Family: Carcharhinidae

Description: Grey dorsal side with dark grey or black vertical stripes and spots; white ventral side for countershading. Markings fade as with increased size. Large body with a bluntly rounded snout and large, black eyes. Fourth and fifth gill slits located over pectoral fins. Prominent interdorsal ridge.

Distribution and Habitat: Occurs globally in tropical and warm temperate waters. Some populations have shown seasonal migration into cool temperate waters. In the western Atlantic, the species ranges from Massachusetts (USA) to Uruguay including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. A highly migratory species, tiger sharks can be found over continental and insular shelves on coral reefs, seagrass beds, sandflats and occasionally far into the pelagic zone. Occurs at depths from 0-1136 meters.

Size: Maximum recorded size of 740 cm total length, typically no larger than 500 cm total length. Size at birth is 51-90 cm total length.

Reproduction: Lecithotrophic viviparous with a 15-16 month gestation period.. Litter size is typically 26-33 pups (largest recorded litter size is 82 pups). Reproductive cycle has been observed to be triennial.

Lifespan: Estimated maximum age of 27-37 years.

Diet: Diet variability increases ontogenetically with size. Common prey includes teleosts, sea turtles, dolphins and smaller elasmobranchs.

IUCN Status: Near threatened as of August 2018.

Human pressures: Targeted and caught as bycatch in commercial, artisanal and recreational fisheries around the world, often on baited longlines or drumlines. Tiger sharks are occasionally targeted as part of the shark fin trade. In Australia, tiger sharks are targeted as part of the shark control program aimed at keeping large sharks from popular beaches.

TIGER SHARK