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 Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)

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Tiger shark
© Doug Perrine / SeaPics
 Range Map

Earth Map


Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

Class: Carlilagenous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)
  Order: Ground sharks (Carcharhiniformes)
    Family: Requiem sharks (Carcharhinidae)
      Genus: Galeocerdo (Galeocerdo)


Scientific: Galeocerdo cuvier
German: Tigerhai
English: Tiger shark
French: Requin tigre commun
Spanish: Tiburón tigre


Unmistakable requiem shark with a very short, blunt snout, labial furrows and big head. Spiraculi present. Slender body behind the pectoral fins. Origin of first dorsal fin over free ends of pectoral fins. Low keels on caudal peduncle, slender and long caudal fin.


Dark grey with vertical tiger-stripe markings; can fade or be obsolete in adults.


Worldwide in temperate and tropical seas. Western Atlantic: Massachusetts to Uruguay, Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, Caribbean. Eastern Atlantic: Iceland and possibly the UK (due to the warm Gulf Stream), Morocco, Canary Islands, possibly Mediterranean, Senegal to Ivory Coast. Indian Ocean: South Africa to Red Sea, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, Vietnam. Western Pacific: southern China, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia. Western central Pacific: Palau, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Tahiti, and Hawaii. Eastern Pacific: southern California to Peru, Galapagos.


This species lives in coastal and pelagic waters, from the surface to about 140 m depth. Wide tolerance for different marine habitats, but seems to prefer turbid waters. On or adjacent to the continental and insular shelves. It is often found in river estuaries, close inshore, in coral atolls and lagoons. Tiger sharks are nocturnal and can show diel cycles of movement inshore at night into shallow waters and retreat to deeper water during daytime. Tiger sharks are mainly solitary.


Probably the biggest variety of food of all sharks. They feed on fishes, sharks, turtles, birds, invertebrates and even garbage. Such a wide spectrum has often been interpreted as being an unspecialized feeder. However this could reflect a highly specialized adaptation to their biology. Tiger sharks are one of the largest sharks of all and need a lot of food. Their uniquely shaped teeth are highly evolved and therefore allow them to feed on different food items, preventing potential food shortages that could arise with selective feeding.


Average size about 400 cm to 650 cm. Maximum total length probably 800 cm.


Aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous), between 10 and 80 pups per litter. Size at birth between 50 cm and 75 cm. The pups are very slender and look different than the adults, different markings are present too. Slow growth.

 Similar Species



Status in the IUCN Red List(1994):

Main criterion: > LR/nt (Low Risk/Near Threatened (1994))
Sub criterion:
Trend: Unknown

 Danger to Humans

Potentially dangerous.

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