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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 ~ opposite pectoral rear tip
D2 low ( < 2.3% TL)
low ridge Ds
top teeth serrated, 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; size at birth 69-100 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; from California to central Mexico.

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 Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Water column only
  • Surface
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Data
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Sharks/rays
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • No data
  • No pelagic larva
  • Live birth
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West)
  • All species
  • TEP non-endemic
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West)
  • West + East Pacific (but not Central)
  • Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America)
Regional Endemism
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Island (s)
  • Continent
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Vulnerable
  • Listed
  • Listed
  • Appendix II
Length Max
  • 365
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 400