Galapagos Shark, Carcharhinus galapagensis (Snodgrass & Heller, 1905)
The species looks similar to the Grey Reef Shark. They can be separated by the number of precaudal vertebrae (103-109 vs. 110-121). The Galapagos Shark has a higher, more erect dorsal fin and usually less distinct black markings on the second dorsal fin and lower caudal fin lobe (pers. comm. Dr Clinton Duffy).
The Galapagos Shark is a large species that occurs primarily around oceanic islands.
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.
The species is commonly associated with oceanic islands where it is usually enountered in clear waters.
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.
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.
- Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Edition 2. CSIRO. Pp. 644, Pl. 1-91.