- First dorsal-fin very tall, its height about half predorsal length
- First dorsal-fin origin over pectoral-fin insertions
- Interdorsal ridge present
- Snout short and broadly rounded
- Upper teeth broadly triangular, erect to slightly oblique
- Lower teeth narrow, upright, edges serrated
Dorsal surfaces pale bronze to greyish brown; a faint pale stripe on each side. Dorsal and upper caudal fin sometimes with dusky edges; pectoral, pelvic, caudal and anal fins of juveniles often with pale tips and posterior margins, less evident in adults. Ventral surfaces pale.
Maximum size up to 240 cm TL, possibly 300 cm TL; birth size 52–75 cm TL.
Cosmopolitan, but patchy, in tropical and warm temperate seas.
Common in bays and near river mouths, but also offshore on oceanic banks and near drop-offs. Found from the intertidal zone to at least 280 meters deep, but usually between 20–55 meters depth.
Feeds primarily on small bony fish, but also crustacean and cephalopods. Migratory in some areas, moving towards warmer waters during colder months; juveniles segregated from adults, and sexes tend to also segregate from each other. Length at maturity is 145–185 cm TL and 130–180 for females and males respectively. Age at maturity is 16.2 years and 13.8 years for females and males respectively. Reproductive mode is viviparous with yolk-sac placenta. Females give birth to 1–14 (usually 5–12) pups, and in Australia, give birth between February and April, after a gestation of about 12 months; females breed every second year. Maximum age reported as at least 25 years for Western Australian populations.
Occasionally caught by shark longline and tuna gillnet fisheries. Utilised for its fins (high value in adults), meat, skin and cartilage.