Animal Species:Galapagos Shark, Carcharhinus galapagensis (Snodgrass & Heller, 1905)

The Galapagos Shark is a large species that occurs primarily around oceanic islands.

Standard Common Name

Galapagos Shark

Identification

Galapagos Sharks are brownish grey to dark grey with a large first dorsal fin and dusky fin tips that are most obvious in young fish. 

Size range

The species grows to a maximum length of 3 m (TL).

Similar Species

The species looks similar to the Grey Reef Shark. They can be separated by the number of precaudal vertebrae (103-109 vs. 110-121) and colouration of the tail (pers. comm. Dr Clinton Duffy)

Distribution

The species is found worldwide in temperate and tropical marine waters.  In Australia it has been recorded from Lord Howe Island and possibly Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs and North West Cape, Western Australia.

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Galapagos Shark specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The species is commonly associated with oceanic islands where it is usually enountered in clear waters.

Danger to humans and first aid

Galapagos Sharks can be aggressive towards divers.  Many individuals were encountered during the Kermadec Islands expedition.  Most often the sharks appeared to be 'inquisitive' rather than aggressive.

Classification

Species:
galapagensis
Genus:
Carcharhinus
Family:
Carcharhinidae
Order:
Carcharhiniformes
Class:
Chondrichthyes
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Edition 2. CSIRO. Pp. 644, Pl. 1-91.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Galapagos Shark, Carcharhinus galapagensis, Carcharhinidae, brownish grey, dark grey, large first dorsal fine, large first dorsal fin, dusky fin tips, > 2m, Grey Reef Shark, termperate water, tropical water, marine, adult,

1 comment

Mark McGrouther - 8.06 AM, 27 June 2011

Hi Jen,  It has taken me a while, but I have finally added a factsheet for this species.

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