Galapagos Shark Click to enlarge image
Galapagos sharks are common in the Kermadec Islands Marine reserve where fishing has been banned for many years. Image: Malcolm Francis
© Malcolm Francis

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    galapagensis
    Genus
    Carcharhinus
    Family
    Carcharhinidae
    Order
    Carcharhiniformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to a maximum length of 3 m (TL).

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



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.

Habitat

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

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.



Galapagos Shark, Carcharhinus galapagensis
A Galapagos Shark at a depth of 6 m, Erscott's Hole North, Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, December 2008. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Danger to humans

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.

References

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