Family : Requiem sharks ; Coastal and semi-oceanic species found on or along outer continental and insular shelves. Found to depths of 40 m . Forms schools. Nocturnal , and feeding mainly on small bony fishes and squid (Ref. 244). Viviparous. Off West Africa, recorded water parameters at 90 to 285 m, where it was caught includes: temperature = 11 to 16¦C; salinity = 36 ppt; oxygen = 1.81 ml/l. Not known to be dangerous to people.
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in Danish:
Common Names in Dutch:
Common Names in English:
Night shark, Shark
Common Names in French:
Requiem de nuit, Requin de nuit
Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:
美洲基齒鯊, 美洲基齿鲨, 長吻真鯊, 长吻真鲨
Common Names in Portuguese:
Ca, Cação-noturno, Requeme-De-Natura, Tubar, Tubarão-da-noite
Common Names in Spanish:
Caz, Cazón de arrecife, Tibur, tiburÃ³n de noche, tiburÃ³n nocturno, Tiburon de noche, Tiburón marrón, Tiburon Negroespinoso, Tiburón nocturno
Species Carcharhinus signatus
Distinctive Features: The night shark
is distinguished by a very
snout that is longer
than the width of
also has large green eyes when alive and a relatively small first
dorsal fin that originates behind
the free rear tips
of the pectoral
. The second dorsal fin is also small and low, originating just
above the origin
of the anal fin. A low interdorsal ridge
between the first and second dorsal fins. The moderately long pectoral
fins are slightly sickle-shaped with narrowly rounded
Coloration : The coloration of the night shark is grayish blue and gray-brown above, with a white to gray-white underbelly. Occasionally, small black spots can be found distributed around the body or a subtle white band over the flank. Embryos are blue or silvery gray above with a grayish white underbelly.
Dentition: The night shark has 15 rows of teeth on each side of the upper and lower jaws . The upper symphysis has one or two rows of small, triangular teeth, while the lower symphysis only has one row of the same type of teeth. The upper jaw is filled with teeth that have increasingly oblique cusps , meaning the angle of curvature of the teeth increases as they progress from the middle of the jaw toward the corners of the mouth. The upper teeth also have a noticable indentation on the outer margins . Each upper tooth has between two and five coarse serrations from the notch to the base of the tooth. The lower jaw has symmetrical , narrow, and erect teeth.
Denticles : The skin of the night shark is composed of dermal denticles that are loosely spaced and overlap minimally. There are typically 3 low ridges on each denticle .
Size, Age, and Growth: The night shark grows to a maximum total length (TL ) of 9 feet (2.8 m ), with an average size of 6.5-8 feet (2.0-2.5 m). The maximum published weight of this shark is 169 pounds (76.7 kg ). Males are commonly 200 cm (Total Length) in length when caught/marketed, but may be as large as 280 cm (Total Length).
The night shark is typically found near outer continental shelves of subtropical waters in depths between 900 feet (275 m ) and 1200 feet (365 m) during the day, and 610 feet (185 m) at night. May be found at depths of 0 to 600 meters. Usually found at depths of 50 to 100 meters.
Typically found in water with a depth of 0 to -5,383 meters (0 to -17,661 feet).
See species-level account for Carcharhinus signatus. (Ref.
List of Habitats :
The night shark typically feeds on squid and small bony fishes, including flyingfish, scombrids, butterfishes , and sea basses.
The night shark reproduces viviparously with a yolk sac placenta. Between 12 and 18 pups are born in each litter , with an average length of approximately 2.2 feet (68-70 cm) at birth. Males reach sexual maturity between 6.0 and 6.2 feet (1.85-1.90 m ) TL , while the females are slightly larger at sexual maturity with a length between 6.5 and 6.7 feet (approximately 2.0 m).
: Larger sharks
are potential predators of night sharks.
Parasites: The copepod Kroyeria caseyi sp.nov. (Kroyeriidae : Siphonostomatoida) has been described from the gills of night sharks in the western North Atlantic. Another copepod, Pandarus smithii, has been documented as a parasite on the body surface of night sharks.
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Bateson, 1885
- Cuvier, 1812
- Jawed Vertebrates
- Family: Carcharhinidae () - Jordan & Evermann, 1896
- Order: Carcharhiniformes ()
- Cohort: Neoselachii ()
- Infraclass: Euselachii ()
- Subclass: Elasmobranchii ()
- Class: Chondrichthyes ()
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata () - auct. - Jawed Vertebrates
- Subphylum: Vertebrata () - Cuvier, 1812 - Vertebrates
- Phylum: Chordata () - Bateson, 1885 - Chordates
- Infrakingdom: Chordonia () - (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Deuterostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Carcharhinus signatus • Hypoprion bigelowi Cadenat • Hypoprion longirostris Poey • Hypoprion signatus • Hypoprion signatus Poey • Hypoprion signatus Poey, 1868
Status: Accepted Name
First described: Poey, F. Synopsis piscium cubensium. Catalogo Razonado de los peces de la isla de Cuba. Repertor. Fisico-natural de la Isla de Cuba 2:279-484., 1868.
Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 28-Oct-2000
Similar species include the silky shark (C. falciformis) and the dusky shark (C. obscurus), however both of these sharks lack green eyes when alive. The silky shark also has a more rounded and swept back first dorsal fin. Another species similar in appearance to the night shark is the spinner shark (C. brevipinna). The spinner shark can be distinguished from the night shark by the absence of the interdorsal ridge.
Members of the genus Carcharhinus
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 36 species and subspecies in this genus:
C. acronotus (Blacknose Shark) · C. ahenea (Shortnose Blacktail Shark) · C. albimarginatus (Silvertip Shark) · C. altimus (Knopp´s Shark) · C. amblyrhynchoides (Graceful Shark) · C. amblyrhynchos (Shortnose Blacktail Shark) · C. amboinensis (Ambon Sharpnose Puffer) · C. azureus (Large Blacktip Shark) · C. borneensis (Borneo Mullet) · C. brachyurus (Black-Tipped Whaler) · C. brevipinna (Blacktipped Shark) · C. cautus (Sharks Bay Whaler Shark) · C. dussumieri (Whitecheek Shark) · C. falciformis (Sickle-Shaped Shark) · C. fitzroyensis (Creek Whaler Shark) · C. galapagensis (Galapagos Shark) · C. hemiodon (Pondicherry Shark) · C. isodon (Fintooth Shark) · C. leiodon (Smoothtooth Blacktip Shark) · C. leucas (Bull Shark) · C. limbatus (Blacktip Shark) · C. longimanus (Brown Milbert's Sand Bar Shark) · C. macloti (Hardnose Shark) · C. melanopterus (Black Fin Reef Shark) · C. obscurus (Dusky Shark) · C. perezi (Caribbean Reef Shark) · C. perezii (Caribbean Reef Shark) · C. plumbeus (Northern Whaler Shark) · C. porosus (Tiburon Peninsula Limia) · C. sealei (Black-Spot Shark) · C. signatus (Night Shark) · C. sorrah (West Australian Whaler Shark) · C. springeri (Reef Shark) · C. tilstoni (Australian Blacktip Shark) · C. velox (Whitenose Shark) · C. wheeleri (Blacktail Reef Shark)
- Search for Pictures: images.google.com
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- Search using Scientific Name and Vernacular Names: All the Web | AltaVista Canada | AltaVista | Excite | Google | HotBot | Lycos
- Search using Specialized Databases: GenBank | Medline | Scirus | CISTI/CAL | Agricola Periodicals | Agricola Books
- Fishery bulletin / U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service. Washington, D.C.: The Service: url , p. 156, p. 157, p. 159, p. 161, p. 163, p. 167, p. 412, p. 761, p. 766.
- Our living oceans: the first annual report on the status of U.S. living marine resources. [Washington, D.C.]: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1991. url p. 117.
- American Fisheries Society. Common and Scientific Names of Fishes from the United states, Canada, and Mexico Sixth Edition. Special Publication 29.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed January 9, 2012.
- Compagno, Leonard J.V. (from FishBase).
- FishBase. Release date: January 5, 2010
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Accessed March 01, 2008. http://www.gbif.org Mediated distribution data from 3 providers.
- IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. . Downloaded on January 28, 2012.
- Kate Barzan. Florida Museum of Natural History
- Ruggiero M., Gordon D., Bailly N., Kirk P., Nicolson D. (2011). The Catalogue of Life Taxonomic Classification, Edition 2, Part A. In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2011 Annual Checklist (Bisby F.A., Roskov Y.R., Orrell T.M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L.E., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., Ouvrard D., eds). DVD; Species 2000: Reading, UK.
- Santana, F.M., Lessa, R. & Carlson, J. 2006. Carcharhinus signatus (Eastern Atlantic subpopulation). In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloadedon 31January2012.
Accessed through GBIF Data Portal March 01, 2008:
- FishBase: FishBase DiGIR Provider - Philippine Server
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University: iziko South African Museum - Shark Collection
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University: REVIZEE South Score / Pelagic and Demersal Fish Database (OBIS South America, BRAZIL)
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University: REVIZEE South Score / Pelagic and Demersal Fish Database II (OBIS South America, BRAZIL)
- Museum national d'histoire naturelle: Ichtyologie
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 122895
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Fis-23069
- Fishbase Species ID: 883
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 13529401
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 160413
- IUCN ID: 197942
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: AFDDG01140
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 105893
- Compagno, L.J.V. (1984). FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2. Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. (125, Vol. 4, Part 2), 655 p. [back]
- Smith, C.L. (1997). National Audubon Society field guide to tropical marine fishes of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York. 720 p. [back]
- Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale (1989). Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p. [back]
- Dulvy, N.K. and J.D. Reynolds (1997). Evolutionary transitions among egg-laying, live-bearing and maternal inputs in sharks and rays. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 264:1309-1315. [back]
- Mean = -800.390 meters (-2,625.951 feet), Standard Deviation = 1,255.600 based on 96 observations. Ocean depth information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]