Author: (Müller and Henle, 1839)
A small, rather stocky requiem shark with a moderately long snout nearly equal to mouth width, a small round eye with a nictitating eyelid, second dorsal fin nearly as large as first, upper teeth serrated and with broad triangular cusps, lower teeth with smooth, hooked, narrow cusps, longitudinal upper precaudal pit, pectoral fins broad and triangular, anal fin with posterior margin nearly straight, and colour light grey or tan above, light below, with no prominent markings.
Body fairly stout. Head broad and flattened but not trowel-shaped; snout broadly parabolic in dorsoventral view and moderately long, with preoral length considerably greater than internarial space and nearly equal to mouth width; eyes fairly small, without posterior notches; spiracles absent; no papillose gillrakers on internal gill openings; nostrils small, internarial space about 3 times the nostril width; anterior nasal flaps short, broadly triangular, but not tubular; labial furrows short, essentially confined to mouth corners, with uppers shorter than lowers and falling far behind eyes; teeth strongly differentiated in upper and lower jaws; upper anteroposteriors with more or less erect, broad, triangular cusps, no cusplets or blades, and serrations; lowers without cusplets but with variably oblique to erect, long hooked cusps and with serrations absent; cusps of lower teeth slightly protruding when mouth is closed; 29 to 37/28 to 34 rows of teeth. Interdorsal ridge absent; no lateral keels on caudal peduncle; upper precaudal pit longitudinal and not crescentic. First dorsal origin over pectoral inner margins, its midbase slightly closer to pectoral bases than to pelvics and free rear tip slightly anterior, over, or slightly posterior to pelvic fin origins; second dorsal fin nearly as large as first, its height 3/4 or more of first dorsal height; its origin about opposite anal origin; pectoral fins broad and triangular, their lengths from origin to free rear tip over 3/4 of pectoral anterior margins; pectoral origins varying from under fourth gill slit to under interspace between fourth and fifth gill slits; anal fin somewhat smaller than second dorsal, with preanal ridges very short or absent and a nearly straight to slightly concave posterior margin. Colour grey or brownish above, without a colour pattern. Moderate-sized sharks, adults probably not exceeding 2 m.
This species has a scattered distribution in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific off Pakistan, India, Burma, Indonesia (Makassar Straits), Sarawak and China. It is not known at present if its distribution is acutally discontinuous, or if it occurs in many other localities connecting the sporadic records as presently known.
Habitat and Biology:
A little-known, continental, inshore shark, apparently only common on the west coast of India (in the Bombay region), but rare elsewhere. Viviparous, number of young 4 to 8 per little (8 commonest). In Bombay waters, most are born before the monsoon season, in April and May. Sketchy data on its breeding suggests a gestation period of about 8 months, but this needs to be confirmed. Feeding habits not reported, probably small fishes and invertebrates. Not known to be dangerous to people.
Maximum 168 cm; smallest adult males 114 cm, females pregnant at 130 to 162 cm; size at birth between 40 and 60 cm.
Interest to Fisheries:
Apparently regularly taken by local fishermen of India (Bombay) and Pakistan (Karachi), but probably caught elsewhere. Taken in bottom and floating gillnets and with line gear. Meat utilized fresh for human consumption; livers used for vitamin oil.
Data on the holotype of Carcharias tephrodes indicates that it is a synonym of this species (Compagno, 1979). The account of Carcharhinus microphthalmus in Chu et al. (1962), suggests nothing to separate it from this species, and hence it is tentatively ranked as a synonym of Lamiopsis temmincki.
Syntypes: Berlin Zoological Museum, Zoological Society of London collection, Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie, Leiden and Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris. Type Locality: "Indien", Paris specimen from Pondicherry.