Common Name: Tiger Shark

Scientific Name: Galeocerdo curvier

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Elasmobranchii

Order: Carcharhiniformes

Family: Carcharhinidae

Genus: Galeocerdo

Species: G. curvier


Did you know the tiger shark has a reputation as an indiscriminate eater that will swallow anything it finds, including garbage, has earned it the nickname "wastebasket of the sea."? They are consummate scavengers, with excellent senses of sight and smell and a nearly limitless menu of diet items. They have sharp, highly serrated teeth and powerful jaws that allow them to crack the shells of sea turtles and clams. Their weight is 850 to 1,400 lbs (385 to 635 kg). Average lifespan in the wild: Up to 50 years and their size: 10 to 14 ft (3.25 to 4.25 m). The voracious, wide-ranging tiger shark can and will eat just about anything including you.


The diet of the tiger shark is highly variable; includes fish, other sharks, rays, marine mammals, marine turtles, birds, and sea snakes. Its coloration varies from bluish or greenish gray to black above and from light gray to dirty yellow or white below dark grey with vertical tiger-stripe markings; can fade or be obsolete in adults. They have many adaptations, one of them is their teeth are replaced throughout their life. Also, they have sensitive smell receptors. They have eyes that adapt quickly to low light levels. They are known for the electroreceptor’s that detect electrical fields due to the presence of prey. Tiger sharks are named for the dark, vertical stripes found mainly on juveniles. As these sharks mature, the lines begin to fade and almost disappear. They can be recognized by its blunt head, serrated cocks-comb-shaped teeth, and its coloration.


Tiger sharks are common in tropical and sub-tropical waters throughout the world. Large specimens can grow to as much as 20 to 25 feet ( 6 to 7.5 meters) in length and weigh more than 1,900 pounds (900 kilograms). Its habitat is coastal waters close to shore to outer continental shelf and offshore including oceanic island groups, coral reef, sandy shoals, seagrass beds. Tiger sharks do well in their ecosystem. Sharks have been around since the Upper Devonian, approximately 409 million years ago. Tiger sharks prefer warm waters and are usually found in the tropics and move into more temperate waters during summer months.


Author: Preston S.

Published 02/09


Source: Galeocerdo Curvier / Tiger Shark Heithaus M.R. Biology of Fishes, Volume 61, Number 1, May 2001 , pp. 25-36(12)Springer SEQ Tiger Shark research. 02/20/2009


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