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Sand Tiger Shark - Shark Week 2015

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This is one of nine blog entries written to coincide with Shark Week 2015. For an overview of the series and links to the other entries, click here.

Sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus), also called grey nurse sharks, can reach a maximum length of 330 cm but are usually smaller. These coastal sharks are rare in the Gulf of Maine, and they are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. At least one study (Musick et al. 1993), found that sand tiger shark populations declined by as much as 75% during the 1980s as a direct result of the commercial shark fishery along the Atlantic coast. The Southwest Atlantic Subpopulation is listed as "Critically Endangered."

Like many sharks, the sand tiger shark is especially vulnerable to even moderate levels of exploitation because of life history and reproductive traits. Female sand tiger sharks usually give birth to 2 pups after an 8-12 months gestation period.

The species is unique amongst sharks insofar as it is believed to be the only shark that can inhale and store air in its stomach in order to maintain neutral buoyancy. 

More Information on Sand Tiger Shark

FishBase Sand Tiger Shark Page

IUCN Red List Sand Tiger Shark Page

Fishes of the Gulf of Maine (1953) Sand Tiger Shark Chapter

Purchase an open edition print of my scientific illustration of a sand tiger shark, and choose any other open edition print for free! Simply mention this offer in the comments field when checking out, and let me know which open edition print you would like me to include with your order for free!


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