Animal Species:Sandtiger Shark, Odontaspis ferox (Risso, 1810)
The Sandtiger Shark is grey-brown above, shading to paler below. The species looks similar to the endangered Greynurse Shark.
Standard Common Name
Herbsts Nurse Shark, Smalltoothed Sandtiger Shark, Bumpytail Ragged-tooth
The Sandtiger Shark has an asymmetrical caudal fin and a first dorsal fin that is larger than both the second dorsal and anal fins. It has long awl-like teeth with two to three pairs of lateral cusplets. It is grey-brown above shading to paler below.
The species looks similar to the endangered Greynurse Shark. The latter species has similar sized dorsal fins and a single pair of lateral cusplets on each tooth.
The common name 'Herbst's Shark' was coined by G.P. Whitley in his 1950 description of the species Odontaspis herbsti (a junior synonym of O. ferox). The common name reflects the contribution of Mr. W.A. Herbst who donated the holotype (AMS IB.2136) and paratype (AMS IB.1959) of this species to the Australian Museum.
The species grows to 3.8 m in length.
Greynurse Shark, Carcharias taurus
The Sandtiger Shark has been recorded from scattered localities in most seas and oceans. In Australia it is known from off New South Wales (to a depth of 850 m) and north-western Australia (to 420 m).
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
The species occurs in continental shelf and slope waters to a depths of around 850 m.
Feeding and Diet
It eats bony fishes, crustaceans and cephalopods.
In New South Wales it is listed as a protected species under the common name Herbsts Nurse Shark.
- Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4, Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes: viii, 1-250. (as Smalltooth Sand Tiger Shark).
- Compagno, L.J.V. & Niem, V.H. 1998. Odontaspididae. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 2. Cephalopods, crustaceans, holothurians and sharks. FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-vi, 688-1396.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.
- Whitley, G. P. 1950. Studies in ichthyology. No. 14. Records of the Australian Museum. 22:3: 234-245.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Sandtiger Shark, Odontaspis ferox, Odontaspididae, Bumpytail Ragged-tooth, Herbsts Nurse Shark, Smalltoothed Sandtiger Shark, asymmetrical caudal fin, awl-like teeth, lateral cusplets, grey-brown, awl like teeth, > 2m,