Tiger Shark

Appearance: Unmistakable requiem shark with a very short, blunt snout, labial furrows and big head. Slender body behind the pectoral fins. Origin of first dorsal fin over free ends of pectoral fins. Low keels on caudal peduncle, slender and long caudal fin.

Coloration: Dark grey with vertical tiger-stripe markings; can fade or be obsolete in adults. Distribution: Worldwide in temperate and tropical seas. Western Atlantic: Massachusetts to Uruguay, Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, Caribbean.

Biology: This species lives in coastal and pelagic waters, from the surface to about 140m depth. Wide tolerance for different marine habitats, but seems to prefer turbid waters. On or adjacent to the continental and insular shelves. It is often found in river estuaries, close inshore, in coral atolls and lagoons. Tiger sharks are nocturnal and show daily cycles of movement inshore at night into shallow waters, and retreat back to deeper water during daytime. Tiger sharks are mainly solitary.

Feeding: Probably the biggest variety of food of all sharks. They feed on fishes, sharks, turtles, birds, invertebrates, people, and even garbage. Such a wide spectrum has often been interpreted as being an unspecialized feeder. However this could reflect a highly specialized adaptation to their biology. Tiger sharks are one of the largest sharks of all and need a lot of food. Their uniquely shaped teeth are highly evolved and therefore allow them to feed on different food items, preventing potential food shortages that could arise with selective feeding.

Size: Average size about 13 to 21 ft. Maximum total length probably 26 ft.

Reproduction: Aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous), between 10 and 80 pups per litter. Size at birth between 1.5 and 2.5 ft. The pups are very slender and look different than the adults, different markings are present too. Slow growth.

Similar species: None.

Population Status: Not endangered.

Danger to humans: Highly dangerous!