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Sandbar shark

Sandbar shark

(Carcharinas plumbeus)

The sandbar shark is a common, bottom-dwelling species that is widespread in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide. It is found on both sides of the Atlantic and in parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It lives in shallow coastal waters for the most part, but undertakes long seasonal migrations in deeper offshore water.

The female is viviparous and gives birth to 6 to 13 pups in shallow-water nursery areas where the young will be protected from predation by larger sharks. Juveniles spend their first five years in the nursery, moving into deeper water nearby during the colder months. After this initial period, the young sandbar sharks join the adults in their longer migrations.

Be sure to check out this stout shark in the Ocean Voyager gallery.

Fun Facts

  • The sandbar shark is the most abundant shark in the western Atlantic.
  • It is common in bays, river mouths and estuaries, but will not ascend rivers into fresh water.
  • This shark is viviparous. The female nourishes the embryos via a placental sac.
  • As with most shark species, populations of the sandbar shark have been greatly reduced in the past 20 years by over-fishing.
  • The bull shark is the primary predator of sandbar sharks.
  • Download full fact sheet

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