Odontaspis taurus

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Sand Tiger Shark seen while at the North Carolina Aquarium

Snapping Turtle - Chelydra serpentina

Habitat Sand tiger sharks can live in coral reefs, the surf zone, rocky reefs, and the ocean bottom (1).

Range Sand tiger sharks have been observed from the ocean surface to as deep as 600 feet. The shark can survive in temperate and tropical oceans around the world. Sand tiger sharks are most commonly found on both sides of the Atlantic, the western Indian Ocean, and near the Gulf of Maine (2).

Description The sharks can range from four to thirteen feet in length. They have a second dorsal fin that can be used to identify them. The sharks can grow to be roughly 250 pounds, which is light for a shark. They are usually a brownish color with darker markings on the upper half of their bodies. They look vicious due to their sharp scary looking teeth, but are not dangerous to humans. The sharks feed on small fish, crabs, lobsters, and squid.

Ecological Notes Sand tiger sharks are enormous creatures and look scary. Along with their daunting appearance, they survive well in captivity. Both of these factors make the sand tiger shark attractive to viewers and less stressful on aquarium personel.

Personal Information We saw the sand tiger shark while at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.

Journal Articles When it is time for these animals to reproduce, many physiological changes take place within the sharks body. For instance, male sharks increase production of sperm during certain months when reproduction ques are present. Other changes such as a slight change in body color can be noticed around mating seasons. Many physiological changes can be seen when these sharks are mating (3). For more information please see:

[1]Lucifora, L.O. et al. (2002) "Reproductive ecology and abundance of the sand tiger shark, Carcharias taurus, from the southwestern Atlantic." ICES Journal of Marine Science. 59 (3) 553-561

Sand tiger sharks (Odontaspis taurus) ages can be estimated by banding patterns on their body. For each summer, a band can be seen on the sharks body. For more information, please see:

[2]Branstetter,S. and Musick, J.A. (1994) "Age and Growth-estimates for the Sand Tiger in the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean." Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 123 (2), 252-254

Contributed by Greg Schwertner - 2010

Back to Bio 412 Marine Biology Field Guide

References

1. http://www.neaq.org/animals_and_exhibits/animals/sand_tiger_sharks/index.php

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_shark

3. Lucifora, L.O. et al. (2002) "Reproductive ecology and abundance of the sand tiger shark, Carcharias taurus, from the southwestern Atlantic." ICES Journal of Marine Science

4. Branstetter,S. and Musick, J.A. (1994) "Age and Growth-estimates for the Sand Tiger in the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean." Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 123 (2), 252-254