Carcharias taurus

Rafinesque, 1810

Sand tiger shark
Classification: Elasmobranchii Lamniformes Carchariidae

Reference of the original description
Rafinesque, C.S. (1810)
Caratteri di alcuni nuovi generi e nuove specie di animali e pinate della Sicilia, con varie osservazioni sopra i medisimi, lère partie. (Part 1 involves fishes, pp. [i–iv] 3–69 [70 blank], Part 2 with slightly different title, pp. ia–iva + 71–105 [106 blank])

Images of the original description (synonym)
Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Carcharhinus taurus, Carcharias aff. taurus, Carcharias americanus, Carcharias arenarius, Carcharias cf. taurus, Carcharias cf. tricuspidatus, Carcharias cuspidatus., Carcharias griseus, Carcharias littoralis, Carcharias owstoni, Carcharias platensis, Carcharias tricuspidatus, Carcharias (Odontaspis) taurus, Carcharias (Parodontaspis) platensis, Carcharodon taurus, Charcharias taurus, Eugomphodus cf. taurus, Eugomphodus littoralis, Eugomphodus taurus, Eugomphodus tricuspidatus, Lamna ecarinata, Odontaspis americanus, Odontaspis arenarius, Odontaspis cf. taurus, Odontaspis cf. tricuspidatus, Odontaspis cinerea, Odontaspis littoralis, Odontaspis platensis, Odontaspis taurus, Odontaspis tricuspidata, Odontaspis tricuspidatus, Squalus americanus., Squalus littoralis, Squalus littoralis., Squalus macrodus, Synodontaspis aff. taurus

Carcharias taurus
XXXX: No types known;
Carcharias arenarius
Holotype: QM: I.1884
Carcharias griseus
XXXX: No types known;
Carcharias owstoni
Holotype: MCZ: 1278-S (ex Owston #21252)
Carcharias tricuspidatus
Holotype: ZSI: 2337 or 2772 (apparently lost)
Lamna ecarinata
Holotype: ZMB: 4532
Squalus americanus.
XXXX: No types known;
Squalus littoralis
XXXX: No types known;
Squalus littoralis.
XXXX: No types known;
Squalus macrodus
XXXX: No types known;

Description :

Citation: Carcharias taurus Rafinesque, 1810: In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 06/2024

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Carcharias taurus Rafinesque, 1810, ERB 1183, female, 153, 0 cm TL, Port Alfred, South Africa © Frederik H. Mollen (Elasmobranch Research Belgium)
Common names
deu \(T\) Grauer Sandhai, deu \(T\) Sandhai, deu \(T\) Sandtiger, spa Bacota, spa Pez toro, spa Pintado, spa Sandtiger shark, spa Sarda, spa Tiburón arenero, spa Tiburón arenero tigre, spa Tiburón sarda, spa Tiburón toro, spa Tigre arenero, spa Torito, spa Toro bacota, fra \(T\) Chien de mer, fra \(T\) Requin, fra \(T\) Requin des sables, fra \(T\) Requin taureau, fra \(T\) Requin-taureau, eng Blue nurse shark, eng Blue-nurse sand tiger, eng Dogfish shark, eng Gray nurse shark, eng Grey Nurse Shark, eng Grey nurse, eng Greynurse shark, eng Ground shark, eng Nuss shark, eng Ragged tooth shark, eng Sand shark, eng Sand tiger, eng Sand tiger shark, eng Sand-tiger, eng Sandtiger shark, eng Shovel-nosed shark, eng Slender-tooth shark, eng Spotted ragged-tooth, eng Spotted ragged-tooth shark, eng Spotted raggedtooth, eng Spotted raggedtooth shark, eng Spotted sand tiger shark, ita Pisci tauru, ita Squalo toro, por Caçoa, por Cação-da-areia, por Cação-de-areia, por Cação-galhudo, por Cação-magonga, por Cação-mangona, por Cação-mangonga, por Cação-manogonga, por Dentudo, por Magonga, por Mangona, por Mangonga, por Tubarão de areia, por Tubarão-, por Tubarão-amarelo, por Tubarão-dentudo, por Tubarão-toiro, Tawru (malta)

Short Description
A shark with a short, pointed snout, small eyes, protruding spike-like teeth and small, equal-sized dorsal and anal fins; 1st dorsal fin closer to pelvic than to pectoral fins [536]. Caudal fin with a pronounced subterminal notch and a short ventral lobe [16823]. Pale brown or grey, paler below, with dark spots that appear faded in adults; fins plain (Ref. 6586).

Found in all warm seas except perhaps the eastern Pacific [544]. Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea and off South Africa to Japan, Korea and Australia [544]. Present in Arafura Sea (Ref. 9819). Western Atlantic: Gulf of Maine to Argentina. Old record from Bermuda, south Brazil [17659]. Eastern Atlantic: Mediterranean to Cameroon. Northwest Atlantic: Canada (Ref. 5951). First record: 2013: United Arab Emirates waters (female, 256 cm, off Dalma Island) [17946]; Source:

Human uses
fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes

Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding on other ova produced by the mother (oophagy) after the yolk sac is absorbed, then cannibalize siblings (adelphophagy) [733]. Distinct pairing with embrace [17086]. Eggs leave the ovaries, and while in transit in the oviducts are fertilized and enclosed in groups of 16 to 23 in egg cases. However, at some time between fertilization and birth only two (Ref. 5578, 6586) embryos of its group prevails, possibly by devouring its rivals, and proceeds to eat fertilized eggs and smaller potential siblings in utero until birth. According to Springer (1948) (Ref. 39565), it is evident that this species sends forth into the world not only large, well-developed, and even experienced young but may send them forth with a full stomach. The yolk sac is resorbed at a small size, less than 17 cm, and the umbilical scar may be lost. Gestation period may be from 8 to 9 months long. Size at birth 100 cm (Ref. 6586). Pratt (2001) (Ref. 49562) relates Gordon"quot;s (1993) (Ref. 51113) detailed account of the mating behavior of the sand tiger sharks as follows: "mating activities began when the two male C. taurus, having become reluctant to feed, increased their swimming speed, accompanied by clasper flexion and eventual interest in their female tank mates...aggressive displays such as snapping and stalking became frequent, mostly toward species of smaller Carcharhinus in the tank. The males did not become interested in the female until she slowed, moved to the sand area and started cupping her pelvic fins. The two males then became competitive toward each other, circling and tailing, until the alpha male forced the beta male out of the sand area. The female bit the male prior to copulation. She exhibited shielding behavior for several days and then resumed cupping and flaring. The female gradually changed her swimming position and began displaying the submissive behavior. The alpha male swam in increasingly larger circles and began splaying its claspers, then approached the female and exhibited tailing and nosing. Copulation occurred as the male bit into the right flank and trailing edge of the pectoral fin of the female. The male swam side by side with the female, copulating with the right clasper for one to two minutes. After copulation, the male showed little interest in the female." In captivity, males show aggression toward other species after copulation (Ref. 51113, 49562). Females avoid patrolling males by "quot;shielding"quot; with pelvics close to the substrate (Ref. 51113, 49562). However, female acceptance of future male partner is indicated by a show of "quot;submissive"quot; body, "quot;cupping"quot; and "quot;flaring"quot; of pelvic fins (Ref. 51113, 49562). A carnivore [17641].

Size / Weight / Age
320 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5213)); max. published weight: 158.8 kg (Ref. 40637)

reef-associated; oceanodromous [17660]; marine; depth range 1 - 191 m [518], usually 15 - 25 m [531]

shark-references Species-ID=1045;

Parasites (arranged by Jürgen Pollerspöck)
  • Ceratomyxa curvata Cunha & Fonseca, 1918 [21233]
  • Chloromyxum africanum Lisnerova, Martinek, Alama-Bermejo, Bouberlova, Schaeffner, Nkabi, Holzer & Bartosova-Sojkova, 2022 [31228]

  • Udonella myliobati (Guberlet, 1936) [15299]

  • Multicalyx cristata Faust & Tang, 1936 [27172]

  • Euterranova galeocerdonis (Thwaite, 1927) [7401]
  • Terranova sp. [23910]

  • Pontobdella moorei Oka, 1910 [8262]