400

Sand Tiger Shark

Australia

400

Carcharias taurus

Endangered

  • Overfishing due to its passive nature and high demand of its various body parts in world trade
  • Death by drowning, entanglement, or fatal injuries from gillnets and bottom trawls
  • Low reproductive rate

The Sand Tiger Shark can be found in subtropical to warm temperate waters worldwide except in South America and in the eastern Pacific region. It is also called by a variety of names including Blue Nurse Sand Tiger Shark, Spotted Ragged Tooth Shark, and Grey Nurse Shark. It should not be confused with the tiger shark (Galeocerdo Cuvier) despite having almost the exact same local name; however, its genetic makeup is closely related to the great white shark (Carcharodon Carcharias).

As a migratory shark species that is distinctly categorized by size and gender, the Sand Tiger Shark prefers to stay in inshore water zones such as bays, gullies, reefs, and underwater caves and is known to dwell close to the equator during the colder season and then travels to the poles in summertime.

Scientists have observed that it hunts for its food (which consists mainly of other sharks, crustaceans, and large schools of fish) within a group called shivers.

Sand Tiger Sharks are known for a peculiar reproductive practice called intrauterine cannibalism or embryophagy wherein the biggest and strongest embryo in the uterus will eat its weaker siblings. The other term for this is adelphophagy or cannibalism of multi-celled embryo. This is the reason why one or two pups are born at a time. And because breeding does not happen on a yearly basis (just every second or third year), Sand Tiger Sharks are considered to have one of the lowest recorded reproductive rates among chondrichthyan species.

There are no confirmed reports of Sand Tiger Sharks’ attacks on humans despite its intimidating physical appearance and excellent swimming skills. In fact, it has a rather docile and hardy nature that makes it an easy target for hunters and anglers. Today, it is considered as one of the top shark species held captive in public aquariums from various countries and for fishing competitions in South Africa.