Dusky Shark

Dusky Shark South Africa

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DUSKY SHARK – Carcharhinus obscurus.
Identification: The dusky shark is also known as a grey shark in some areas can be easily confused with other species when viewed underwater. The absence of distinctive markings is, one of the first clues to identification. Dusky sharks are grey to bronze in colour with a lighter underbelly. The snout is rounded . Fin tips are darker but not boldly marked. The tip of the dorsal is rounded and the pectoral fins are forward of the dorsal fin and black tipped on the underside. Teeth are triangular and serrated on the upper jaw. Teeth on the lower jaw are slender, smooth and more pointed. Duskys  have an interdorsal ridge and larger specimens may attain 4.2m in length.

Biology: The dusky shark bears up to 14 live young in the summer months.

Behavior: Dusky sharks are found in coastal waters from Cape Town to the tropics. Commonly caught by anglers and never implicated in attacks on humans, however they are the most common catch of the shark nets in KwaZulu Natal. The proliferation of juvenile duskys in the KZN area is prehaps due to the removal of many of the large predatory species by the very same nets. Duskys are often sighted during the sardine run, they feed on pelagic and bottom fish, other sharks, skates, rays and carrion – see report on scavenging behavior.

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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