1 The Galapagos Shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis) is a broad circumtropical distribution and is generally found associated with offshore islands and underwater seamounts.

2 The species is difficult to distinguish from other large requiem sharks. Its main characteristics are darkgrey colouration on top with an off-white belly, the tail has a black edge and there is a ridge running between the dorsal fins. The teeth in the upper jaw are serrated and triangular whilst the lower jaw teeth are narrower.

3 Galapagos sharks are benthic feeders that feed predominantly on the bottom dwelling bony fishes and cephalopods. In the Galapagos Islands, larger sharks are known to prey on sea lions and marine iguanas.

4 Reproduction is viviparous (live bearing), with females bearing litters of 4-16 pups every 2-3 years. When born, juveniles will live in shallow water to avoid being predated on by adults.

5 When threatened, the Galapagos Shark may perform a threat display similar to that of the grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos), where the shark performs an exaggerated, rolling-swimming motion while arching its back, lowering its pectoral fins, puffing out its gills and gaping its jaw.

6 The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had assessed the Galapagos shark as Near Threatened, as a result of heavy fishing pressure (from longliners) across its range.

7 Lord Howe Island, located off northern New South Wales in Australia, is a great place to observe and photograph the Galapagos shark as it is extremely common and generally seen on every dive around the island.

8 The Galapagos Shark grows to a maximum size of 3.7 metres, however, they are generally not seen larger than 3 metres in length.

Beyond the Ocean – The Galapagos Shark
From Scuba Australasia Issue 2/2011
By Dave Harasti

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