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Author: Garrick, 1982

Field Marks:
A medium-sized grey shark with a moderately long, broadly rounded snout, usually round eyes, no interdorsal ridge, narrow-cusped, serrated upper anteroposterior teeth, usually 13/13 on each side, whitetipped first dorsal fin, large second dorsal fin with a short rear tip, and a broad black band on the posterior margin of the cauda fin.

Diagnostic Features:
A fairly stocky species (to 1.7 m). Snout fairly long and broadlybluntly rounded; internarial width 1 to 1.4 times in preoral length; eyes usually round and fairly large, their length 2 to 2.9% of total length; anterior nasal flaps hardly expanded as very low triangular lobes; upper labial furrows short and inconspicuous; hyomandibular line of pores just behind mouth corners not conspicuously enlarged; gill slits moderate-sized. the third 2.5 to 3.1% of total lenoth and less than 2/5 of first dorsal base; usually 13/13 rows of anteroposterior teeth in each jaw half but varying from 13 to 14/14 to 15; upper teeth with narrow, strongly serrated, semierect to oblique, high cusps, and crown feet with coarser serrations and often distal cusplets; lower teeth with erect or semioblique, narrow serrated cusps and transverse roots. Usually no interdorsal ridge. First dorsal fin moderate-sized and semifalcate, with a narrowly rounded or pointed apex and posterior margin curving ventrally from fin apex; origin of first dorsal fin usually over or just in front of pectoral free rear tips; inner margin of first dorsal moderately long, somewhat or less than half dorsal base; second dorsal fin moderately large and high, its height 2.8 to 4.1% of total length, inner margin fairly long and 1 to 1.5 times its height; origin of second dorsal over or slightly in front of anal origin; pectoral fins moderately large, narrow and falcate, with narrowly rounded or pointed apices, length of anterior margins about 18 to 21% of total length; 210 to 227 total vertebral centra, 110 to 117 precaudal centra. Colour grey above, white below; first dorsal with a white tip and posterior margin, entire posterior margin of caudal (terminal, pre-and postventral margins) with a conspicuous broad black band, pectorals, second dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins with blackish or dusky tips.

Geographical Distribution:
Apparently confined to the western Indian Ocean, off South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, the Scychelles, Comores, and Aldabra Islands, St. Brandon Reef, Kenya, the Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea.

Habitat and Biology:
A common coastal, inshore to offshore reef shark where it occurs, from the surface and intertidal down to at least 140 m. It is common on deeper banks away from major reefs and along fringing reefs, but is occasionally found on reef flats. Younger sharks apparently live in shallower waters than adults.

Viviparous, with a yolk-sac placenta; number of young 1 to 4 per litter, with larger females having larger litters. Mating and conception, as well as birth, occurs in the winter and early spring with a gestation period of about a year.

Eats small fishes, squid and octopi. Not implicated in attacks on people, but aggressive when spearfishing activities are occurring and hence potentially dangerous.

Maximum about 172 cm, possibly to 193 cm; males maturing between 110 and 130 cm and reaching at Ieast 168 cm and possibly 193 cm; females mature at about 120 cm and reaching at least 172 cm; size at birth about 65 to 75 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Probably relatively important to fisheriesin some areas where it occurs (particularly off East Africa and in the Mauritius-Scychelles region where it is quite abundant); probably used fresh and dried salted for human consumption, and for fishmeal and other shark products.

This species was termed C. amblyrhynchus by Wheeler (1962) and C. spallanzani by Bass, D'Aubrey and Kistnasamy (1973), but was recently distinguished as a new species by Garrick(1982). It is very close to C. amblyrhynchos and may prove to be not distinct from that species.

Type material:
Holotype: U.S. National Museum of Natural History, USNM 197418, 1322 mm adult male. Type Locality: Red Sea.

Blacktail reef shark (Carcharhinus wheeleri)