Spot-tail sharkCCQ

Carcharhinus sorrah

Carcharhinus sorrah ventral head
Carcharhinus sorrah. upper and lower teeth

Characteristic features:

  • Second dorsal, pectoral and lower caudal fins strikingly black tipped
  • Second dorsal fin very low with an extremely long inner margin (exceeding twice fin height)
  • Interdorsal ridge present
  • Snout moderately long and pointed
  • Upper teeth with oblique cusp, with strong cusplets on one side
  • Lower teeth narrow, oblique, without cusplets

Colour:

Dorsal surfaces bronze, fading to brownish grey to grey after death; a pale stripe on each side. Pectoral, second dorsal and lower caudal fins with distinct black tips; first dorsal and upper caudal fins with dusky margins. Ventral surfaces almost white.

Size:

Maximum size up to 160 cm TL; birth size 45 – 60 cm TL.

Distribution:

Found in the tropical Indo-West Pacific, from south-eastern Africa to Solomon Islands and northwards to southern Japan.

Habitat:

Found mostly in shallow water over muddy bottoms but also near coral reefs; usually in midwater or near the surface. Found from the intertidal zone down to at least 140 meters depth.

Biology:

Feeds primarily on small bony fish, but also crustacean and cephalopods (mainly octopuses). Length at maturity is 90 – 95 for both sexes. Age at maturity is 2 – 3 years for both sexes. Reproductive mode is viviparous with yolk-sac placenta. In Australia females give birth in January after a 10 month gestation period and breed every year. Litter size is 1 – 8 (3 average) pups. Newborns are found in shallower water, segregated from adults. Population genetic studies have shown that Indonesian and northern Australian populations are not shared. Maximum age reported as at least 7 and 5 years for females and males respectively.

Indonesian fisheries:

Common catch of the shark longline and inshore gillnet fisheries. Utilised for its fins and meat, skin and cartilage, but is of limited value due to its small size.

Similar species:

Commonly confused with the black-tipped species

Carcharhinus amblyrhynchoides
Graceful shark
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchoides
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchoides differs in having no interdorsal ridge (vs. interdorsal ridge present) and in having the first dorsal and pelvic fins usually distinctly black-tipped, at least in juveniles (vs. not distinctly black-tipped).
Carcharhinus brevipinna
Spinner shark
Carcharhinus brevipinna
Carcharhinus brevipinna differs in having no interdorsal ridge (vs. interdorsal ridge present) and in having the first dorsal and pelvic fins usually distinctly black-tipped, at least in juveniles (vs. not distinctly black-tipped).
Carcharhinus limbatus
Common blacktip shark
Carcharhinus limbatus
Carcharhinus limbatus differs in having no interdorsal ridge (vs. interdorsal ridge present) and in having the first dorsal and pelvic fins usually distinctly black-tipped, at least in juveniles (vs. not distinctly black-tipped).
Carcharhinus tilstoni
Australian blacktip shark
Carcharhinus tilstoni
Carcharhinus tilstoni differs in having no interdorsal ridge (vs. interdorsal ridge present) and in having the first dorsal and pelvic fins usually distinctly black-tipped, at least in juveniles (vs. not distinctly black-tipped).

External links:

FishBase
The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM