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Species: Carcharhinus obscurus, Dusky shark

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

snout short, round
large eyes
D1: moderate, sloping front edge, origin over/before pectoral free rear tip
D2 low (<2.3% TL)
ridge between Ds
top front teeth broad, triangular, semi-oblique
pectoral: large, strongly concave rear edge

Carcharhinus obscurus (Lesueur, 1818)

Dusky shark

Body moderately slender to moderately stout; 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 relatively low (height 6-9.1% of TL), 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; 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.

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

Depth: 0-400 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; best means of separation is the sloping first dorsal & lower 2nd dorsal fin (1.5 -2.3% of TL) in C. obscurus vs a more erect first dorsal and higher (2.1-3.3% of TL) second dorsal in C. Galapagensis.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Water column only
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Estuary
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Data
  • Sharks/rays
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Live birth
  • No pelagic larva
  • Data
Global Endemism
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Extends South of GC
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC non-endemic
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • 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
  • Listed
  • Vulnerable
  • Not listed
Length Max (cm)
  • 365
Depth Range Min (m)
  • 0
Depth Range Max (m)
  • 400