Silky sharkFAL

Carcharhinus falciformis

Carcharhinus falciformis upper and lower teeth

Characteristic features:

  • First dorsal fin relatively low; origin well behind pectoral-fin rear tip
  • Interdorsal ridge present
  • Second dorsal fin low, its inner margin very long (1.3–3.0 times its height)
  • Snout moderately long and narrowly rounded
  • Upper teeth narrow, with one edge prominently notched
  • Lower teeth narrow and upright


Dorsal surfaces dark brown to dark grey. First dorsal fin plain; other fins plain or with dusky tips. Ventral surfaces almost white.


Maximum size up to ~330 cm TL; birth size 56–87 cm TL.


Widespread in all tropical seas and sometimes makes seasonal incursions into warm temperate areas.


Oceanic and epipelagic. Usually found near continental shelf edges, and over deep water reefs and seamounts; also found in the open sea. Mostly found in waters from the surface to less than 200 meters depth, bust also in waters at least 500 meters depth.


Feeds primarily on pelagic bony fish, and also cephalopods and pelagic crabs. An active fast swimming species that can sometimes be aggressive. Known to segregate by size, with juveniles in offshore nursery areas close to land. Length at maturity is at least 190–210 cm TL, and 180–210 for females and males respectively. Age at maturity is around 14 years and 11.6 years for females and males respectively in Papua New Guinea. Females have a viviparous with yolk-sac placenta reproductive mode and give birth to between 1–16 pups (average 8–10). There is a possible 2 year reproductive cycle, and no obvious reproductive seasonality. Maximum age reported as at least 28 years in Papua New Guinea.

Indonesian fisheries:

Very common component of the catch of shark and tuna linkline and tuna gillnet fisheries. Utilised for its fins (high value in adults), meat, skin and cartilage.

Similar species:

Carcharhinus obscurus
Dusky shark
Carcharhinus limbatus
Carcharhinus obscurus differs in having a more anteriorly positioned first dorsal-fin, its origin about level with pectoral-rear tips (vs. first dorsal fin more posteriorly positioned, its origin well behind pectoral-fin rear tips) and a snout more broadly rounded (vs. narrowly rounded to somewhat pointed).

External links:

The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM