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Species: Carcharhinus obscurus, Dusky Shark

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

slender body
snout short, round
large eyes
D1 curved, origin ~over pectoral free rear tip
pectoral: large, curved
pelvic origin near D1 rear tip

Carcharhinus obscurus (Lesueur, 1818)

Dusky Shark

Body moderately slender; snout moderately short (</= mouth width), broad, rounded; eyes round, large; nasal flaps rudimentary; upper front teeth broadly triangular, low, straight at front to a little oblique at sides, serrated, not notched; lower front teeth with low, narrow, finely serrated points; first dorsal fin moderately large, front edge broadly arched, tip pointed to narrowly rounded, origin over/slightly before pectoral free rear tip; origin of second dorsal above anal fin origin, with long base and long free rear tip, fin low, usually < 2.3% (1.5-2.3%) TL; pectoral long, strongly curved rear border, pointed tip; a marked crest between dorsal fins; pelvic fin with origin only slightly behind free rear tip of 1st dorsal fin; tail base without keel; tail fin strongly asymmetrical, with well developed lower lobe, undulating ridge along dorsal surface of top lobe, and a notch under tip of that lobe.

Grey, shading to white ventrally, with a faint, near-horizontal, grey band invading the white of upper abdomen; tips of fins dusky.

Size: reaches 365 cm, possibly 400 cm.

Habitat: Inshore to offshore coastal- pelagic, primarily on continental shelves, not in low salinity habitats.

Depth: 0-573 m.

Circumglobal in tropical and warm temperate seas; the eastern United States to Guyana.

Note: Very similar in appearance and easily confused with C. galapagensis; in C obscurus the origin of the 1st dorsal fin is over/slightly behind the free rear tip of the pectoral fin (vs over the inner margin & before that tip in C galapagensis); and the pelvic origin is only slightly behind the free rear tip of the 1st dorsal fin (vs well behind in C galapagensis).

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Sharks/rays
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Sea snakes/mammals/turtles/birds
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Endangered
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 365
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 573