Bignose sharkCCA

Carcharhinus altimus

Carcharhinus altimus ventral
Carcharhinus altimus upper tooth

Characteristic features:

  • First dorsal fin relatively tall, its height less than half predorsal length
  • First dorsal fin origin over pectoral-fin insertions
  • Interdorsal ridge present
  • Snout moderately long and pointed
  • Upper teeth triangular, erect to slightly oblique, long and pointed, edges serrated
  • Lower teeth erect, narrow and serrated


Dorsal surfaces bronze to grey; greyish after death. Fin tips often dusky. Ventral surfaces almost white.


Maximum size up to 285 cm TL; birth size 60–75 cm TL.


Patchy but circumglobal in tropical and warm temperate seas.

View FAO distribution map


A mainly bottom-dwelling species, but rarely observed in shallow waters. Found at depths from 80 to least 430 meters; juveniles as shallow as 25 meters.


Feeds on a variety of demersal bony fish, sharks, rays and cephalopods. Differs in habitat from other members of this genus in preferring deepwater areas, although undergoing vertical migrations to near the surface at night. Length at maturity is 225 cm TL and 190–216 cm TL for females and males respectively.. Reproductive mode is viviparous with yolk sac-placenta, and give birth to a litter of 3–15 pups. Populations in Papua New Guinea probably give birth in June or July, based on 2 pregnant females with embryos of ~60 cm TL being caught in June.

Indonesian fisheries:

Caught occasionally by shark longliners and as bycatch of gillnet fisheries. Utilised for its fins (high value in adults), meat, skin and cartilage.

Similar species:

Carcharhinus plumbeus
Sandbar shark
Carcharhinus plumbeus
Carcharhinus plumbeus is similar in having a tall anteriorly positioned first dorsal fin and the presence of an interdorsal ridge, but differs in having a shorter, although tall, first dorsal fin (vs. very tall) and a moderately long snout (vs. snout moderately short).

External links:

The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM