Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory

<I>Prionace glauca</I>

Prionace glauca




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CAAB: 37018000


Requiem Sharks, Whaler Sharks

Compiler and date details

15 August 2011 - Douglass F. Hoese, Jennifer E. Gates & Dianne J. Bray




The Carcharhinidae traditionally include whale or requiem sharks, blue sharks, tiger sharks, gummy sharks and various other pelagic sharks. Currently, 12 or 13 genera and around 58 species are recognised from tropical and subtropical regions of the world's oceans (Nelson 1994, Last & Stevens 2009). The Australian fauna currently comprises 31 species known in eight genera (Last & Strevens 1994, 2009).

Some species enter fresh water, but the group is primarily marine. Many species are widespread and occur in several oceans. The family contains the largest number of species of sharks and includes sharks that are encountered most frequently in coastal regions. Carcharhinids are common on coral reefs and other areas of the continental shelf, but some species occur in oceanic waters on the continental slope. Most species are viviparous, but some are ovoviviparous. Diet includes a variety of invertebrates, birds, marine mammals, sea snakes, fishes and sometimes garbage. Some species are known to be responsible for attacks on humans. Species range in size as adults from about 1 to at least 5 m.

Compagno (1984b) divided the group into the families Carcharhinidae, Hemigaleidae and Triakidae. Garrick (1982) revised Carcharhinus and Compagno (1984a, 1984b) moved species of Hypoprion to Carcharinus. Last & Stevens (1994), Compagno (1984b) and Compagno & Niem (1998) treated many of the species that occur in Australia. Springer (1964) revised Scoliodon, Loxodon and Rhizoprionodon. Whitley (1940) figured types of several Australian species. Fowler (1941) treated most species, but much of the information in that work is now out of date. Compagno (1970, 1973, 1988) treated relationships of several genera in the family, and Stead (1963) summarised information on the biology of Australian species. All Australian species are treated by Compagno et al. (2005) and Last & Stevens (2009).

Because of their large size, these sharks are not well represented in collections. Many earlier records were based on misidentifications (Garrick 1982) and it is not possible to substantiate many of these early records. Scoliodon laticaudus has been recorded from Australia as Physodon muelleri, but its presence in Australia was questioned by Springer (1964). Much of the distribution information given here was kindly provided by J. Stevens of the CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Hobart. Many of the records are incomplete and some errors can be expected in the list.


General References

Compagno, L.J.V. 1970. Systematics of the genus Hemitriakis (Selachii : Carcharhinidae), and related genera. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 38(4): 63-98 figs 1-8

Compagno, L.J.V. 1973. Interrelationships of living elasmobranchs. Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Zoology 53(suppl. 1): 15-61 pls 1-2

Compagno, L.J.V. 1984a. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 4(1) pp. 1-249.

Compagno, L.J.V. 1984b. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 4(2) 251-655 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V. 1988. Sharks of the Order Carcharhiniformes. Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press 572 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V., Dando, M. & Fowler, S. 2005. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World. London : Collins 368 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V. & Niem, V.H. 1998. Family Carcharhinidae. pp. 1312-1360 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 2 687-1396 pp.

Fowler, H.W. 1941. Contributions to the biology of the Philippine Archipelago and adjacent regions. The fishes of the groups Elasmobranchii, Holocephali, Isospondyli and Ostariophysi obtained by the United States Bureau of Fisheries Steamer Albatross in 1907 to 1910, chiefly in the Philippine Islands and adjacent seas. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 100(13): 1-879 figs 1-30

Garman, S. 1913. The Plagiostomia (sharks, skates and rays). Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University 36: 1-528 pls 1-77

Garrick, J.A.F. 1982. Sharks of the genus Carcharhinus. National Marine Fisheries Service (U.S.). Technical Report 445: 1-194 figs 1-83

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls.

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

Nelson, J.S. 1994. Fishes of the World. New York : John Wiley & Sons 600 pp.

Springer, V.G. 1964. A revision of the carcharhinid genera Scoliodon, Loxodon and Rhizoprionodon. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 115(3493): 559-632 figs 1-14 pls 1-2

Stead, D.G. 1963. Sharks and Rays of Australian Seas. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 211 pp. 63 figs.

Whitley, G.P. 1940. The Fishes of Australia. Part 1. The sharks, rays, devil-fish, and other primitive fishes of Australia and New Zealand. Sydney : Roy. Zool. Soc. N.S.W. 280 pp. 303 figs.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
16-Aug-2012 16-Aug-2012 MODIFIED
16-Apr-2012 16-Apr-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)