Bronze Whaler

Bronze Whaler South Africa

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BRONZE WHALER or COPPER SHARK – Carcharhinus brachyurus
Identification: Bronze whalers can attain a length of over 3m. The sleek body has a bronze-grey sheen dorsally with an off-white underside and is slightly arched above the gills. The fins are well developed and fin tips can be darker – especially on the lower caudal lobe and anal fin – causing much confusion with identification. The upper lobe of the caudal fin is more than double the size of the lower. Teeth on the upper jaw are pointed, triangular and slightly slanted. The teeth on the lower jaw are narrower, straighter and smoother. Seen underwater, they are easily confused with blacktips (C. limbatus), however the pectoral fins are forward from the leading edge of the dorsal which is less prominent in bronze whalers.
Biology: Sexual maturity is reached after about 5 years. Young are born live in litters of up to 30 in number.

Behavior: Primarily found in shallow waters, the bronze whaler favors the cooler, temperate waters of the Cape and large numbers are known to follow the sardine run up the Wild Coast to KwaZulu Natal. Bronze whalers often feed near the bottom, their diet consisting of bony fish, small sharks, skates and squid.

Shark Identification South Africa

What shark did we see?

When trying to identify any wild animals, colour is usually the least important feature. When it comes to identifying sharks try get a good look at the tail and any obvious markings – spots patterns and dark tips on the fins are always useful. Combine this with the size and location of fins and you should be getting pretty close to pinning down the family – if not the species -good luck!

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This text has been compiled from several different sources, personal observations and anecdotes. It is intended to serve as a popular guide only. While every effort has been made to keep the information accurate and updated, it should not be seen in any way as a scientific text or reference.

Copyright: Oceans Africa 2012       Original artwork: Graeme S. Grant

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