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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 50 years (wild)
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Joao Pedro de Magalhaes
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Behavior

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Tiger sharks rely on electromagnetic receptors to perceive their environment and to hunt prey. Sensing organs called Ampullae of Lorenzini, located on the end of their nose, are filled with a jelly-like substance that reads electromagnetic signals. These signals are sent from the pores to the sensory nerve, and then to the brain. While hunting, tiger sharks uses this ability to detect electromagnetic signals given off by fish. Tiger sharks also use these organs to sense changes in water pressure and temperature (Plessis, 2010). Members of this species also have a lateral line on both sides of the body that runs from the gill line to the base of the tail. The lateral line reads the vibrations in the water from the movement of other animals nearby. Ampullae of Lorenzini and lateral lines also help detect electromagnetic signals from other sharks. While communally feeding on carcasses, sharks give off signals signifying dominance and thus the order in which they feed.

Communication Channels: visual ; electric

Perception Channels: tactile ; vibrations ; electric ; magnetic

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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Conservation Status

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Currently, the total number of tiger sharks worldwide is unknown. However, they are listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List. One major initiative to protect this species has been the limitation of the number of sharks taken by fisherman (i.e., one per vessel with a specific license).

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: near threatened

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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Life Cycle

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Embryos of tiger sharks are fertilized internally. A yolk sac forms around the embryos to provide necessary nutrients during the 13 to 16 month gestation period. As the yolk begins to run out near the end of the gestation period, the embryo draws nutrients directly from the mother. At birth, tiger sharks are fully developed and independent. They are born with tiger-like stripes on their back and a lightly colored yellow or white belly which allows them to blend in with the environment. These stripes fade as the juveniles reach adulthood, which is around 6 to 8 years. Males reach maturity earlier than females.

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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Benefits

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Although very unlikely, tiger sharks enter shallow, populated areas of coast and attack humans on rare occasions.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (bites or stings)

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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Benefits

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Tiger sharks are a popular gamefish, which are typically captured and released for sport. They are very strong, fast and perform aerial acts when hooked. Fishing for these sharks is tiring, as tiger sharks are not quickly or easily exhausted. In some states, permits such as a saltwater fishing license allow fishermen to collect the shark as a trophy.

Positive Impacts: food

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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Associations

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As top predators in their ecosystem, it is possible that tiger sharks control populations of prey species, although this has not been verified. Tiger sharks also serve as a host for remoras, which are small suckerfish. Tiger sharks and remoras share a commensal relationship: remoras attach to tiger sharks near the underbelly, and use the shark for transportation and protection. Remoras also feed on materials dropped by tiger sharks. Recently, copepods, specifically sea louse, have been discovered around the eyes of tiger sharks in Australia.

Commensal/Parasitic Species:

  • Remoras Echeneidae
  • Sea louse Caligus oculicola
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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Trophic Strategy

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The diet of tiger sharks includes mollusks, birds, snakes, crustaceans, sea turtles, and dugongs. Serrated teeth give this species the ability to penetrate the shells of sea turtles. Tiger sharks often scavenge dead or injured whales, and large tiger sharks can survive several weeks without feeding. This species most likely relies on stealth rather than strength and speed to catch prey. They are well camouflaged, allowing them to get within striking range of prey. If prey flee, tiger sharks may back off, not taking part in high-speed pursuits. However, tiger sharks are capable of short bursts of speed once their prey are within range.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; reptiles; fish; carrion ; mollusks; other marine invertebrates

Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats non-insect arthropods, Molluscivore )

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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Distribution

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Tiger sharks are found in many subtropical and tropical waters, primarily from 45°N to 32°S. Tiger sharks have been sighted from the eastern coast of North America to the eastern coast of Brazil. This includes the coasts of southern North America, Mexico, and Latin America along the Gulf of Mexico. Tiger sharks also populate the coasts of China, India, Africa, Japan, and many islands of the Pacific Ocean.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); oriental (Native ); ethiopian (Native ); neotropical (Native ); australian (Native ); indian ocean (Native ); atlantic ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )

Other Geographic Terms: cosmopolitan

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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Habitat

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Tiger sharks are a saltwater species. Although they prefer the sea grass ecosystems of the costal areas, they occasionally inhabit other areas due to prey availability. Tiger sharks spend approximately 36 % of their time in shallow coastlne habitats (Heithaus et al., 2002), generally at depths of 2.5 to 145 m. This species, however, has been documented several kilometers from the shallow areas and at depths up to 350 m. Females are observed in shallow areas more often than males. Tiger sharks have also been documented in river estuaries and harbors

Range depth: 2.5 to 350 m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; saltwater or marine

Aquatic Biomes: pelagic ; reef ; coastal

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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Life Expectancy

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The average lifespan of tiger sharks in the wild is 27 years, though some may live to 50 years of age. Tiger sharks in captivity do not live as long, a maximum of 17 to 20 years. In captivity, this species tends to die of starvation rather than old age, as food that is already dead is less appealing to tiger sharks.

Range lifespan
Status: wild:
50 (high) years.

Range lifespan
Status: captivity:
20 (high) years.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
27 years.

Typical lifespan
Status: captivity:
17 (high) years.

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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Morphology

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Tiger sharks are one of the largest carnivores in the ocean. Juveniles have tiger-like stripes, which fade as they grow older. Tiger sharks are blue or green in color with a light yellow or white under-belly. This speices has a large blunt nose on the end of a wedge-shaped head. Tiger sharks have serrated teeth, making it easy to tear flesh and crack the bones and shells of their prey. They have a heterocercal tail, meaning the dorsal lobe of the caudal fin is longer than the ventral lobe. Adults range from 3.25 to 4.25 m in length, although tiger sharks of 6 to 7.5 m in length have been documented. Female tiger sharks are on average 2.92 m in length and are smaller than males, which are on average 3.20 m in length. Adult tiger sharks typically weigh 385 to 635 kg, with largest sharks reaching 862 kg.

Range mass: 385 to 862 kg.

Range length: 3.25 to 7.5 m.

Average length: females 2.92 m; males 3.20 m.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger

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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Associations

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Tiger sharks are some of the largest predators in the ocean and have few species feed on them. Some juvenile tiger sharks, however, fall prey to other sharks. Female tiger sharks gives birth in a nursery, which provides protection during the birthing process and to pups in the absence of parents. The coloration of tiger sharks provides camouflage against predators as well. Humans also fish for tiger sharks.

Known Predators:

  • humans Homo sapiens

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Reproduction

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Tiger sharks are polygynandrous, meaning males and females have multiple mates; they do not pair-bond at any time. Not much is known regarding the the behaviors of finding, attracting, and defending mates of tiger sharks.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Male tiger sharks reach sexual maturity when they reach an average length of 292 cm, whereas females reach sexual maturity when 330 to 345 cm in length. Females mate once every three years. Breeding seasons differ in the northern and southern hemispheres. In the northern hemisphere, females delay fertilization until March or May in order to give birth between May and June of the following year. In the southern hemisphere, females delay mating until November or January in order to give birth between February and March of the following year. Tiger sharks are one of the few species that are ovoviviparous. Females give birth to 10 to 80 pups per litter after a gestation period of 16 months. Many of these pups will not survive to adulthood. Pups weigh 3 to 6 kg at birth.

Male tiger sharks have diametric testes, which are capable of synthesizing a larger amount of sperm than radial or compound testes. The females have external ovaries that appear on the epigonal organ, which is a primary lymphoid tissue in elasmobranchs.

Breeding interval: every three years

Breeding season: Northern Hemisphere: March-May to April-June of following year. Southern Hemisphere: November-December

Range number of offspring: 3 to 80.

Average number of offspring: 35-55.

Range gestation period: 13 to 16 months.

Range time to independence: 1 (low) minutes.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 8 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 7 years.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); ovoviviparous ; delayed fertilization

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
Sex: male:
1825 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
Sex: female:
2555 days.

Female tiger sharks typically gives birth in a nursery, which provides protection during birth and to the young directly after birth. Tiger sharks are born independent, and mothers do not help their pups to find food, shelter or to survive. Males play no role in the lives of their offspring. Pups, however, are born with traits that help them survive without parents, including camouflage patterning, teeth to help capture prey, and speed to avoid predators.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

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Draper, K. 2011. "Galeocerdo cuvier" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Galeocerdo_cuvier.html
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Kyah Draper, Radford University
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Karen Francl, Radford University
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Gail McCormick, Special Projects
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Diagnostic Description

provided by Fishbase
This species is a huge, vertical tiger-striped shark with a very short or broad, bluntly rounded snout (its length much less than width of mouth), long upper labial furrows (about as long as snout, reaching front of eyes), a big mouth with large, saw-edged, cockscomb-shaped teeth (coarsely serrated with outer edges deeply notched and tips directed obliquely outward); spiracles small, slit-like, but easily visible, caudal keels low. Colour of back dark grey or greyish brown with vertical dark grey to black bars and rectangular spots often forming bars on sides and fins, but fading with growth (Ref. 5578, 9997).
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Recorder
Cristina V. Garilao
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Life Cycle

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Ovoviviparous (Ref. 4805, 6871) with 10-82 in a litter (Ref. 26346). Mating takes place even before gravid females have given birth (Ref. 244). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205). Gestation period: 13-16 months. Size at birth between 51 (Ref. 244) and 104 (Ref. 9997) cm TL; born at about 51-76 cm TL (Ref. 58048).
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Rainer Froese
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Migration

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Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Kent E. Carpenter
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Morphology

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Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 0
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Trophic Strategy

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Tiger sharks travel along the continental shelf and farther offshore in rather random fashion. Found worldwide in tropical and temperate seas; a carnivore, pelagic species, occasionally advancing into coastal waters (Ref. 9137).
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Susan M. Luna
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Biology

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Usually found near surface to depths of 140 m (Ref. 26938); in Tahiti from 0-350m (Ref. 89972) . Occurs on or adjacent to continental and insular shelves, frequenting river estuaries, off wharves and jetties in harbors, and in coral atolls and lagoons (Ref. 244). Bottom-associated, sometimes pelagic (Ref. 58302). Also off oceanic islands far from other islands and continental land masses (Ref. 244). Makes excursions in the open ocean, but is not a truly oceanic species (Ref. 244). Nocturnal feeder on other sharks, rays, bony fishes, marine mammals, tortoises, seabirds, sea snakes, squids, gastropods, crustaceans, detritus (Ref. 9997), also including toxic or armored fish species such as Lactoria cornuta or Diodon hystrix, porpoises, whales, sea turtles, cephalopods, domestic animals and humans (Ref. 37816). It also feeds on carrion and garbage, including cans, pieces of metal and burlap bags (Ref. 26938). Second only to Carcharodon carcharias in recorded attacks on humans with at least 27 documented attacks sourced to it . One specimen, reportedly taken off Indo-China, weighed 3,110 kg and measured 740 cm (Ref. 9987). May be kept in an aquaria, but does not last for more than a few months (Ref. 244). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449). Up to 80 young of 51 to 104 cm are born per litter (Ref. 1602). Valued for its meat, fins, hide and liver oil (Ref. 9997) and also for its jaws and cartilage (Ref. 58048). Often used for fishmeal (Ref. 9997). Utilized fresh, dried-salted, smoked and frozen (Ref. 9987). Species from the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea has a max size of 750 cm TL (Ref. 47613).
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Kent E. Carpenter
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Importance

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fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
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Kent E. Carpenter
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分布

provided by The Fish Database of Taiwan
廣泛分布於全球各溫、熱帶水域。臺灣東部、東北部及西南部海域均見其蹤跡。
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臺灣魚類資料庫
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臺灣魚類資料庫

利用

provided by The Fish Database of Taiwan
主要以流刺網及延繩釣捕獲,經濟價值高。肉質佳,可加工成各種肉製品;鰭可做魚翅;皮厚可加工成皮革;肝可加工製成維他命及油;剩餘物製成魚粉。
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描述

provided by The Fish Database of Taiwan
體呈紡錘型,軀幹相當粗壯。頭寬扁。尾基上下方各具一凹窪。吻短而寬圓。眼近圓形,瞬膜發達。前鼻瓣短而呈三角形;唇溝很長,上唇溝幾達下唇溝之兩倍長而接近眼之前角。口裂寬,深弧形,口閉時上下頜緊合,不露齒;上下頜齒同型,寬扁斜三角形,邊緣具明顯鋸齒,齒尖明顯外斜,外緣有一凹刻,凹刻下方具3-6小齒尖,小齒尖之外緣亦具明顯鋸齒。噴水孔裂縫狀,中小型。背鰭2個,背鰭間存在明顯的隆脊;尾柄隆脊不高,第一背鰭寬大,起點與胸鰭內角相對,後緣凹入,上角鈍尖,下角尖突;第二背鰭小,起點在臀鰭起點之前,後緣入凹,後角尖突;胸鰭中大型,鐮刀形,後緣凹入,外角鈍圓,內角鈍圓,鰭端伸達第一背鰭基底後端;尾鰭寬長,尾椎軸上揚,上葉位於近尾端,下葉前部顯著大三角形突出,中部低平延長,與後部間有一深缺刻,後部扁三角形微突出,與上葉分隔處亦具缺刻,尾端尖突。體背側灰褐色或青褐色;腹側白色。體側和鰭上具不規則褐色斑點,連成許多縱行及橫行條紋。
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臺灣魚類資料庫
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臺灣魚類資料庫

棲地

provided by The Fish Database of Taiwan
棲息於沿岸、近海的大型鯊魚。經常出現於河口、港灣堤防外、珊瑚環礁、潟湖區、外洋島嶼外圍水域。具有在大洋中遷移的習性,但並非大洋性魚種,同時也具有垂直洄游習性,白天在深水域活動,夜間則至水表層或淺水域捕食。性兇猛且貪婪,掠食海洋中的硬骨魚類、其它鯊魚、魟、海洋哺乳類、海龜、海鳥等,是對人們最具有攻擊威脅性的3種鯊魚之一。卵胎生,一胎可產下10-82尾幼鯊,剛出生之幼鯊體長可達60-104公分。
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Tiger shark

provided by wikipedia EN

The tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)[3] is a species of requiem shark and the only extant member of the genus Galeocerdo. It is a large macropredator, capable of attaining a length over 5 m (16 ft 5 in).[4] Populations are found in many tropical and temperate waters, especially around central Pacific islands. Its name derives from the dark stripes down its body, which resemble a tiger's pattern, but fade as the shark matures.[5]

The tiger shark is a solitary, mostly nocturnal hunter. It is notable for having the widest food spectrum of all sharks, with a range of prey that includes crustaceans, fish, seals, birds, squid, turtles, sea snakes, dolphins, and even other smaller sharks. It also has a reputation as a "garbage eater",[5] consuming a variety of inedible, man-made objects that linger in its stomach. Though apex predators, tiger sharks are sometimes taken as prey by groups of killer whales.[6] It is considered a near threatened species due to finning and fishing by humans.[2]

The tiger shark is second only to the great white in recorded fatal attacks on humans, but these events are still exceedingly rare.[7][8]

Taxonomy

The shark was first described by Peron and Lesueur in 1822, and was given the name Squalus cuvier.[4] Müller and Henle in 1837 renamed it Galeocerdo tigrinus.[7] The genus, Galeocerdo, is derived from the Greek galeos, which means shark, and kerdo, the word for fox.[7] It is often colloquially called the man-eater shark.[7]

The tiger shark is a member of the order Carcharhiniformes, the most species-rich order of sharks, with more than 270 species also including the small catsharks and hammerhead sharks.[4] Members of this order are characterized by the presence of a nictitating membrane over the eyes, two dorsal fins, an anal fin, and five gill slits. It is the largest member of the Carcharhinidae family, commonly referred to as requiem sharks. This family consists of mostly slender but powerful mid- to large-sized sharks and includes some other well-known sharks, such as the blue shark (Prionace glauca), lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris), and bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas).[5]

Description

The tiger shark commonly attains adult length of 3.25–4.25 m (10 ft 8 in – 13 ft 11 in) and weighs often around 175 to 635 kg (386 to 1,400 lb). It is dimorphic, with females being the larger sex. Mature females are often over 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in) while mature males rarely get that large.[7][9][10][11] Exceptionally large females reportedly can measure over 5 m (16 ft 5 in), and the largest males 4 m (13 ft 1 in). Weights of particularly large female tiger sharks can exceed 900 kg (2,000 lb).[10][12][13] One pregnant female caught off Australia reportedly measured 5.5 m (18 ft 1 in) long and weighed 1,524 kg (3,360 lb). Even larger unconfirmed catches have been claimed.[14] Some papers have accepted a record of an exceptional 7.4 m (24 ft 3 in) length for a tiger shark, but since this is far larger than any scientifically observed specimen, verification would be needed.[15][16]

Among the largest extant sharks, the tiger shark ranks in average size only behind the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus), and the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). This makes it the second-largest predatory shark, after the great white.[17] Some other species such as megamouth sharks (Megachasma pelagios), Pacific sleeper sharks (Somniosus pacificus), Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus), and bluntnose sixgill sharks (Hexanchus griseus) broadly overlap in size with the tiger shark, but as these species are comparatively poorly studied, whether their typical mature size matches that of the tiger shark is unclear.[7][14] The great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran), a member of the same taxonomic order as the tiger shark, has a similar or even greater average body length, but is lighter and less bulky, with a maximum known weight of 580 kg (1,280 lb).[18]

Tiger shark teeth are unique with very sharp, pronounced serrations and an unmistakable sideways-pointing tip. Such dentition has developed to slice through flesh, bone, and other tough substances such as turtle shells. Like most sharks, its teeth are continually replaced by rows of new teeth throughout the shark's life. Relative to the shark's size, tiger shark teeth are considerably shorter than those of a great white shark, but they are nearly as broad as the root as the great white's teeth and are arguably better suited to slicing through hard-surfaced prey.[19][20]

A tiger shark generally has long fins to provide lift as the shark maneuvers through water, while the long upper tail provides bursts of speed. The tiger shark normally swims using small body movements.[21]

Skin

The skin of a tiger shark can typically range from blue to light green with a white or light-yellow underbelly. The advantage of this is that when it is hunting for its prey, when prey looks at the shark from above, the shark will be camouflaged, since the water below is darker And when prey is below the shark and looks up, of course because of the sun, it is lighter so that the light underbelly will also camouflage the shark. This is known as countershading. Dark spots and stripes are most visible in young sharks and fade as the shark matures. Its head is somewhat wedge-shaped, which makes it easy to turn quickly to one side.[5][22] They have small pits on the snout which hold electroreceptors called the ampullae of Lorenzini, which enable them to detect electric fields, including the weak electrical impulses generated by prey, which helps them to hunt.[19] Tiger sharks also have a sensory organ called a lateral line which extends on their flanks down most of the length of their sides. The primary role of this structure is to detect minute vibrations in the water. These adaptations allow the tiger shark to hunt in darkness and detect hidden prey.[23]

Vision

Sharks do not have moveable upper or lower eyelids, but the tiger shark—among other sharks—has a nictitating membrane, a clear eyelid that can cover the eye.[24] A reflective layer behind the tiger shark's retina, called the tapetum lucidum, allows light-sensing cells a second chance to capture photons of visible light. This enhances vision in low-light conditions.[25]

Distribution and habitat

Profile photo of shark, accompanied by remora, swimming just above a sandy seafloor
Juvenile tiger shark in the Bahamas
Video of juvenile tiger shark at Lord Howe Island, Australia, from PLOS ONE

The tiger shark is often found close to the coast, mainly in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world.[7] Its behavior is primarily nomadic, but is guided by warmer currents, and it stays closer to the equator throughout the colder months. It tends to stay in deep waters that line reefs, but it does move into channels to pursue prey in shallower waters. In the western Pacific Ocean, the shark has been found as far north as Japan and as far south as New Zealand.[4] It has also been recorded in the Mediterranean, once off Spain and once off Sicily.[26]

Tiger sharks can be seen in the Gulf of Mexico, North American beaches, and parts of South America. It is also commonly observed in the Caribbean Sea. Other locations where tiger sharks are seen include off Africa, China, India, Australia, and Indonesia.[5] Certain tiger sharks have been recorded at depths just shy of 900 m (3,000 ft).[7]

Feeding

The tiger shark is an apex predator[27] and has a reputation for eating almost anything.[7] These predators swim close inland to eat at night, and during the day swim out into deeper waters.[28] Young tiger sharks are found to feed largely on small fish, as well as various small jellyfish, and mollusks including cephalopods. Around the time they attain 2.3 m (7.5 ft), or near sexual maturity, their selection expands considerably, and much larger animals become regular prey.[29] Numerous fish, crustaceans, sea birds, sea snakes,[30] marine mammals (e.g. bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops), common dolphins (Delphinus),[31] spotted dolphins (Stenella),[32] dugongs (Dugong dugon), seals and sea lions, and sea turtles (including the three largest species: the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea),[33] the loggerhead (Caretta caretta)[34] and the green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas),[29]) are regularly eaten by adult tiger sharks. In fact, adult sea turtles have been found in up to 20.8% of studied tiger shark stomachs, indicating somewhat of a dietary preference for sea turtles where they are commonly encountered.[35] They also eat other sharks (including adult sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus)), as well as rays, and sometimes even other tiger sharks.[5][29]

Due to high risk of predation, dolphins often avoid regions inhabited by tiger sharks.[36] Injured or ailing whales may also be attacked and eaten. A group was documented killing an ailing humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in 2006 near Hawaii.[37] A scavenger, the tiger shark will feed on dead whales, and has been documented doing so alongside great white sharks.[38]

Evidence of dugong predation was identified in one study that found dugong tissue in 15 of 85 tiger sharks caught off the Australian coast.[39] Additionally, examination of adult dugongs has shown scars from failed shark attacks.[40] To minimize attacks, dugong microhabitats shift similarly to those of known tiger shark prey when the sharks are abundant.[41]

The broad, heavily calcified jaws and nearly terminal mouth, combined with robust, serrated teeth, enable the tiger shark to take on these large prey.[36] In addition, excellent eyesight and acute sense of smell enable it to react to faint traces of blood and follow them to the source. The ability to pick up low-frequency pressure waves enables the shark to advance towards an animal with confidence, even in murky water.[21] The shark circles its prey and studies it by prodding it with its snout.[21] When attacking, the shark often eats its prey whole, although larger prey are often eaten in gradual large bites and finished over time.[21]

Notably, terrestrial mammals, including horses (Equus ferus caballus), goats (Capra aegagrus hircus), sheep (Ovis aries), dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), cats (Felis catus), and brown rats (Rattus norvegicus), are fairly common in the stomach contents of tiger sharks around the coasts of Hawaii.[29] In one case, remains of two flying foxes were found in the stomach of this shark.[42] Because of its aggressive and indiscriminate feeding style, it often mistakenly eats inedible objects, such as automobile license plates, oil cans, tires, and baseballs.[5]

Predation by killer whales

Although tiger sharks are apex predators, they are sometimes preyed on by pods of killer whales. A pod's method of hunting a tiger shark is to drive it to the surface. A killer whale will then grab the shark mid-body and hold it upside down to induce tonic immobility and drown the shark. The killer whales bite off the shark's fins before disemboweling and devouring it midwater.[6]

Swimming efficiency and stealth

All tiger sharks generally swim slowly, which, combined with cryptic coloration, may make them difficult for prey to detect in some habitats. They are especially well camouflaged against dark backgrounds.[36] Despite their sluggish appearance, tiger sharks are one of the strongest swimmers of the carcharhinid sharks. Once the shark has come close, a speed burst allows it to reach the intended prey before it can escape.[36]

Reproduction

Males reach sexual maturity at 2.3 to 2.9 m (7.5 to 9.5 ft) and females at 2.5 to 3.5 m (8.2 to 11.5 ft).[19] Typical weight of relatively young sexually mature specimens, which often locally comprise the majority of tiger sharks encountered per game-fishing and scientific studies, is around 80 to 130 kg (180 to 290 lb).[20][43] Females mate once every three years.[5] They breed by internal fertilization. The male inserts one of his claspers into the female's genital opening (cloaca), acting as a guide for the sperm. The male uses his teeth to hold the female still during the procedure, often causing the female considerable discomfort. Mating in the Northern Hemisphere generally takes place between March and May, with birth between April and June the following year. In the Southern Hemisphere, mating takes place in November, December, or early January. The tiger shark is the only species in its family that is ovoviviparous; its eggs hatch internally and the young are born live when fully developed.[7] Tiger Sharks are unique among all sharks in the fact that they employ embryotroph to nourish their young inside the womb. The young gestate in sacks which are filled with a fluid that nourishes them. This allows for the young to dramatically increase in size, even though they have no placental connection to the mother.[44]

The young develop inside the mother's body up to 16 months. Litters range from 10 to 80 pups.[7] A newborn is generally 51 to 76 cm (20 to 30 in) long.[7] How long tiger sharks live is unknown, but they can live longer than 12 years.[5]

Ontogeny

Tiger shark ontogeny has been little studied until recently, but studies by Hammerschlag et al., indicated that as they grow, their tails become more symmetrical with age. Additionally, while the heads on juvenile tiger sharks are more conical and similar to other requiem sharks, adult tiger sharks have a head which is relatively broader. The reason for the larger caudal fin on juvenile tiger sharks is theorized to be an adaptation to escape predation by larger predators and to catch quicker-moving prey. As tiger sharks mature, their head also becomes much wider and their tails no longer become as large in proportion to their body size as when they are juveniles because they do not face elevated levels of predation risk upon maturity. The results of this study were interpreted as reflecting two ecological transitions: as tiger sharks mature they become more migratory and having a symmetrical tail is more advantageous in long-distance traveling, and that tiger sharks consume more diverse prey items with age, which requires a greater bite force and broader head.[45]

Conservation

Photo of shark hung by its tail on the shore
A large tiger shark caught in Kaneʻohe Bay, Oʻahu in 1966

The tiger shark is captured and killed for its fins, flesh, and liver. It is caught regularly in target and nontarget fisheries. Several populations have declined where they have been heavily fished. Continued demand for fins may result in further declines. They are considered a near threatened species due to excessive finning and fishing by humans according to International Union for Conservation of Nature.[2] In June 2018 the New Zealand Department of Conservation classified the tiger shark as "Migrant" with the qualifier "Secure Overseas" under the New Zealand Threat Classification System.[46]

While shark fin has very few nutrients, shark liver has a high concentration of vitamin A, which is used in the production of vitamin oils. In addition, the tiger shark is captured and killed for its distinct skin, as well as by big-game fishers.[7]

In 2010, Greenpeace International added the tiger shark to its seafood red list, which is a list of commonly sold fish likely to come from unsustainable fisheries.[47]

Relationship with humans

Although sharks rarely bite humans, the tiger shark is reported to be responsible for a large share of fatal shark-bite incidents, and is regarded as one of the most dangerous shark species.[48][49] They often visit shallow reefs, harbors, and canals, creating the potential for encounter with humans.[5] The tiger shark also dwells in river mouths and other runoff-rich water.[7][19] While the tiger shark is considered to be one of the sharks most dangerous to humans, its bite rate is low.[50] It ranks second on the list of number of recorded bites on humans, behind only the great white shark.[7][48] Typically, three to four shark bites occur per year in Hawaii, but they are rarely fatal; one notable survivor of such an attack is surfing champion Bethany Hamilton, who lost her left arm at age 13 to a tiger shark in 2003. This bite rate is very low, considering that thousands of people swim, surf, and dive in Hawaiian waters every day.[50] Human interactions with tiger sharks in Hawaiian waters have been shown to increase between September and November, when tiger shark females are believed to migrate to the islands to give birth.[51]

Between 1959 and 2000, 4,668 tiger sharks were culled in an effort to protect the tourism industry. Despite damaging the shark population, these efforts were shown to be ineffective in decreasing the number of interactions between humans and tiger sharks. Feeding sharks in Hawaii (except for traditional Hawaiian cultural or religious practices) is illegal,[52][53] and interaction with them, such as cage diving, is discouraged. South African shark behaviorist and shark diver Mark Addison demonstrated divers could interact and dive with them outside of a shark cage in a 2007 Discovery Channel special,[54] and underwater photographer Fiona Ayerst swam with them in the Bahamas.[54][55] At "Tiger Beach" off Grand Bahama, uncaged diving with – and even the handling of – female tiger sharks has become a routine occurrence.[56]

Mythology

Tiger sharks are considered to be sacred 'aumākua (ancestor spirits) by some native Hawaiians.[57]

See also

References

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  39. ^ Simpfendorfer, Colin A.; Goodreid, Adrian B.; McAuley, Rory B. (1 January 2001). "Size, Sex And Geographic Variation in the Diet of the Tiger Shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, From Western Australian Waters". Environmental Biology of Fishes. 61 (1): 37–46. doi:10.1023/A:1011021710183. S2CID 39996373.
  40. ^ Anderson, Paul K. (1995). "Scarring and photoidentification of dugongs (Dugong dugon) in Shark Bay, Western Australia" (PDF). Aquatic Mammals. 21 (3): 205–211. ISSN 0167-5427. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 20, 2014. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
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Tiger shark: Brief Summary

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The tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) is a species of requiem shark and the only extant member of the genus Galeocerdo. It is a large macropredator, capable of attaining a length over 5 m (16 ft 5 in). Populations are found in many tropical and temperate waters, especially around central Pacific islands. Its name derives from the dark stripes down its body, which resemble a tiger's pattern, but fade as the shark matures.

The tiger shark is a solitary, mostly nocturnal hunter. It is notable for having the widest food spectrum of all sharks, with a range of prey that includes crustaceans, fish, seals, birds, squid, turtles, sea snakes, dolphins, and even other smaller sharks. It also has a reputation as a "garbage eater", consuming a variety of inedible, man-made objects that linger in its stomach. Though apex predators, tiger sharks are sometimes taken as prey by groups of killer whales. It is considered a near threatened species due to finning and fishing by humans.

The tiger shark is second only to the great white in recorded fatal attacks on humans, but these events are still exceedingly rare.

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Description

provided by World Register of Marine Species
Found in both coastal and oceanic waters, including estuaries. Nocturnal feeder on mammals, tortoises, birds, sea snakes, squids, gastropods, crustaceans, and detritus. Ovoviviparous. One of the most common of the large sharks in the tropics, second only to @Carcharodon carcharias@ in recorded attacks on humans. At least 27 documented attacks are sourced to it. The 910 cm record unconfirmed. One specimen, reportedly taken off Indo-China, weighed 3,110 kg and measured 740 cm (Ref. 9987). May be caught using longlines (Ref. 5213). Valued for its meat and fins as well as its excellent hide; utilized fresh, dried-salted, smoked and frozen (Ref. 9987).
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Froese, R. & D. Pauly (Editors). (2021). FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. version (08/2021). Froese, R. & D. Pauly (Editors). (2021). FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. version (08/2021). North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS) North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Distribution

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circumglobal in tropical and warm temperate seas; in the Atlantic strays as far north as Iceland and Norway; north to Cape Cod, strays into Gulf of Maine
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WoRMS Editorial Board
bibliographic citation
Froese, R. & D. Pauly (Editors). (2021). FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. version (08/2021). Froese, R. & D. Pauly (Editors). (2021). FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. version (08/2021). North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS) North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
contributor
Kennedy, Mary [email]
contributor
Kennedy, Mary [email]

Habitat

provided by World Register of Marine Species
nektonic
license
cc-by-4.0
copyright
WoRMS Editorial Board
bibliographic citation
Froese, R. & D. Pauly (Editors). (2021). FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. version (08/2021). Froese, R. & D. Pauly (Editors). (2021). FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. version (08/2021). North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS) North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
contributor
Kennedy, Mary [email]
contributor
Kennedy, Mary [email]