Creature Feature: Sandbar Shark

Photo by Brian Gratwicke

Photo by Brian Gratwicke

Last week we took a look at one of the many Coastal pelagic sharks, which live in deep waters as well as above continental shelves and are able to migrate as many as 1000 miles. Today we will look at another, the Sandbar Shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus).  Sandbar Sharks are sometimes mistaken for Dusky Sharks (Carcharhinus obscurus). Click here to read lasts week’s post all about Dusky Sharks. They are very similar at first glance but one of the biggest differences between these two sharks is that the Sandbar Shark has an unusually large dorsal fin.

Photo by Jim Hoffman

Photo by Jim Hoffman

The large dorsal fin, combined with broad head and streamlined body makes these sharks strong and graceful as they swim throughout temperate and tropical waters. Sandbar Sharks get their name from the habitat in which they primarily reside: the muddy, sandy areas along the continental shelf. These sharks stay away from hard rocky substrates.

Sandbars that live in the western North Atlantic will migrate to more northern latitudes, like Cape Cod, in the warmer seasons and will head back down during the cooler seasons. The female Sandbar Sharks are solitary migrators while the males swim in schools together in deeper waters. The migratory movements of young Sandbar Sharks are less strenuous or far-reaching as the adults. In the late fall, juveniles will travel south in schools and return for the summer months. These sharks are constantly on the move!

Join us next week for a look at a migratory plankton eater. Om nom nom!  

References:
Edited by: KC O’Shea
Photography: Brian Gratwicke and Jim Hoffman 
http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/fishes/sandbar-shark
http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/onlinelearningcenter/species/sandbar
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/3853/0
http://www.aqua.org/explore/animals/sandbar-shark
http://nefsc.noaa.gov/nefsc/Narragansett/sharks/sandbar.html
http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/Sandbarshark/sandbarshark.htm
Tricas, Timothy C., Kevin Deacon, Peter Last, John E. McCosker, Terence I. Walker, Leighton Taylr. A Guide to Sharks & Rays. San Francisco: Fog City Press, 2002. Print.
 

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