Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Family: CARCHARHINIDAE, Requiem Sharks, Blue Sharks, Lemon Sharks, Sharpnose Sharks, Tiger Sharks, Whitenose Sharks, Whitetip Sharks

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

D1 before pelvic
C: asymmetric, large lower lobe, undulating ridge above
teeth = blades; top & bottom different
tail base: notches above & below



Requiem sharks are small to large sharks (~ 1-7.4 m); elongate to robust; snout ranging from broad and blunt to long and conical; eyes round, with lower eyelids (internal nictitating membranes); usually no spiracles (Galeocerdo is the exception) nostrils without barbells or grooves; mouth large, arched, extends well behind eyes; grooves along the sides of the lips at the rear of the mouth; teeth of variable sizes, blade-like, with or without accessory points, upper and bottom teeth with different forms, upper front teeth smaller than those at sides, front and side teeth not separated by a group of small teeth; 5 gill slits, last 2 over pectoral base; 1st dorsal fin base smaller than upper lobe of tail, situated entirely before the pelvic fins; 2nd dorsal much smaller than 1st; anal fin moderately large, its origin before or under 2nd dorsal origin; tail base with pits above and below before tail fin; tail strongly asymmetrical, lower lobe of tail well developed, upper lobe with undulating ridge along its top edge, and a notch under its tip.

Carcharhinids are active strong swimmers that occur singly or in small to large groups. Except for the Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), which is ovoviviparous, all species are viviparous with a yolk sac placenta. They have litters of young that number from one or two to as many as 135. The pups resemble miniature versions of the adults and are able to fend for themselves moments after birth. Requiem sharks are responsible for about half of all reported shark attacks on humans. They are voracious predators whose diets include a variety of fishes, other sharks, rays, squid, octopuses, cuttlefish, crabs, lobsters, and shrimps, together with sea birds, turtles, sea snakes, marine mammals, molluscs, carrion, and human garbage.

The requiems are one of the largest and best known families of sharks. Worldwide there are 50 species in 12 genera; 17 species in 7 genera occur in our region.