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Tiger shark

Scientific name: Galeocerdo cuvier
Phylum Chordata

Distribution: Openwater

Description: The tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, is the fourth largest predatory shark .Mature sharks average 3.25 to 4.25 m long and weigh 385 to 909 kg . It also has dorsal fins that are distinctively close to its tail. This shark is a solitary hunter, usually hunting at night. Its name is derived from the dark stripes down its body, which fade as the shark matures.

Habitat: It is found in many of the tropical and temperate regions of the world's oceans, and is especially common around islands in the central Pacific and often visits shallow reefs, harbours and canals close to coastal communities. The shark's behavior is primarily nomadic, but is guided by warmer currents, and it stays closer to the equator throughout the colder months. The shark tends to stay in deep waters that line reefs but does move into channels to pursue prey in shallower waters.

Ecology: The tiger shark is a predator, known for eating a wide range of items. Its usual diet consists of fish, seals, birds, smaller sharks, squid, turtles, and dolphins. It has sometimes been found with man-made waste such as license plates or pieces of old tires in its digestive tract and is often referred to as "the wastebasket of the sea". It is responsible for attacks on swimmers, divers and surfers around the world. The tiger shark mates only once every 3 years. They breed by internal fertilization. It is the only species in its family that is ovoviviparous; its eggs hatch internally and the young are born live when fully developed.

A Tiger shark viewed from below

The young are nourished inside the mother's body for up to 16 months, where the female can produce a litter ranging from 10 to 80 pups. A newborn tiger shark is generally 51 centimetres to 76 centimetres long and leaves its mother upon birth. It is unknown how long tiger sharks live, but it has been speculated to be 20 years.

Interesting facts: The tiger shark belongs to the group of sharks characterized by the presence of a nictitating membrane over the eyes, two dorsal fins, an anal fin, and five gill slits. It is the largest member of the Carcharhinidae family, commonly referred to as requiem sharks. The tiger shark has been recorded down to a depth just shy of 900 metres.

The heaviest tiger shark recorded to date, was caught in Newcastle, NSW, Australia in 1954 and measured 7.3 m, scaled 1,524 kg. It has been estimated that the tiger shark can swim at a maximum speed of around 32 km/h, with short bursts of higher speeds that last only a few seconds.
Like all sharks, tiger shark teeth are continually replaced by rows of replacements from within its jaws. While the tiger shark is not directly commercially fished, it is caught for its fins, flesh, liver, which is a valuable source of vitamin A used in the production of vitamin oils, and distinct skin, as well as by big game fishers.

Tiger Shark - Dive Magazine

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