Bronze Whaler Sharks, Carcharhinus brachyurus
Taxonomy Animalia Chordata Elasmobranchii Carcharhiniformes Carcharhinidae Carcharhinus brachyurus
Description & Behavior
Bronze whaler sharks, Carcharhinus brachyurus (Günther, 1870), aka narrowtooth shark, bronze, copper shark and bronzys, reach a maximum of 3.25 m in length and weigh a maximum of 305 kg. They are large sharks with blunt, broad snouts, narrow bent cusps on the upper teeth, and no interdorsal ridges. They are gray to bronze in color on the dorsal side, white on the ventral side. The fins have similar coloring with the exception of the pelvic fins, which have dusky tips, and the pectoral fins, which have dusky to black tips.
World Range & Habitat
Bronze whalers are found in subtropical waters between 45°N-52°S in the western Atlantic off the coast of Mexico, in the Gulf of Mexico, and off the coasts of Brazil to Argentina. In the eastern Atlantic these sharks are found off the coast of France south to the coast of southern Africa to central Natal, South Africa. It is thought that 2 separate populations exist in southern Africa. In the western Pacific, bronze whalers are found from Japan to New Zealand, and in the eastern Pacific off the coast of southern California, USA to the Gulf of California in Mexico and Peru.
Bronze whalers are found in offshore waters along continental margins. They occasionally enter inshore waters and large coastal bays. This species is migratory in the northern part of its range, traveling north in spring and summer and south in autumn and winter.
Feeding Behavior (Ecology)
This species feeds on pelagic (open water) and bottom bony fishes, cephalopods, smaller sharks, and rays.
Bronze whalers are viviparous, meaning females nourish embryos with a placenta and give birth to live young. This species is slow to reproduce.
Conservation Status & Comments
Bronze whaler sharks are commercially hunted throughout their range and are a very popular species for sports fishermen. They have been implicated in bites to humans, particularly spearfishermen.
References & Further Research
Research Carcharhinus brachyurus » Barcode of Life ~ BioOne ~ Biodiversity Heritage Library ~ CITES ~ Cornell Macaulay Library [audio / video] ~ Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) ~ ESA Online Journals ~ FishBase ~ Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department ~ GBIF ~ Google Scholar ~ ITIS ~ IUCN RedList (Threatened Status) ~ Marine Species Identification Portal ~ NCBI (PubMed, GenBank, etc.) ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species Database ~ WoRMS
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