Tiger shark
Overview
The tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, is a species of requiem shark
Requiem shark
Requiem sharks are a family, Carcharhinidae, of sharks in the order Carcharhiniformes, containing migratory, live-bearing sharks of warm seas such as the tiger shark, the blue shark, the bull shark, and the milk shark.The name may be related to the French word for shark, "requin", itself of...

 and the only member of the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Galeocerdo. Commonly known as sea tigers, tiger sharks are relatively large macropredators, capable of attaining a length of over 5 m (16.4 ft). It is found in many tropical and temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 waters, and is especially common around central Pacific islands. Its name derives from the dark stripes down its body which resemble a tiger
Tiger
The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to and weighing up to . Their most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts...

's pattern and fade as the shark matures.

The tiger shark is a solitary, mostly night-time hunter.
Encyclopedia
The tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, is a species of requiem shark
Requiem shark
Requiem sharks are a family, Carcharhinidae, of sharks in the order Carcharhiniformes, containing migratory, live-bearing sharks of warm seas such as the tiger shark, the blue shark, the bull shark, and the milk shark.The name may be related to the French word for shark, "requin", itself of...

 and the only member of the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Galeocerdo. Commonly known as sea tigers, tiger sharks are relatively large macropredators, capable of attaining a length of over 5 m (16.4 ft). It is found in many tropical and temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 waters, and is especially common around central Pacific islands. Its name derives from the dark stripes down its body which resemble a tiger
Tiger
The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to and weighing up to . Their most recognizable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with lighter underparts...

's pattern and fade as the shark matures.

The tiger shark is a solitary, mostly night-time hunter. Its diet involves a wide range of prey, including crustacean
Crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

s, fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, seals
Pinniped
Pinnipeds or fin-footed mammals are a widely distributed and diverse group of semiaquatic marine mammals comprising the families Odobenidae , Otariidae , and Phocidae .-Overview: Pinnipeds are typically sleek-bodied and barrel-shaped...

, bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s, smaller sharks, squid
Squid
Squid are cephalopods of the order Teuthida, which comprises around 300 species. Like all other cephalopods, squid have a distinct head, bilateral symmetry, a mantle, and arms. Squid, like cuttlefish, have eight arms arranged in pairs and two, usually longer, tentacles...

, turtle
Turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

s, sea snakes, and dolphins. The tiger shark is considered a near threatened species
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

 due to finning
Shark finning
Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins and the discarding of the rest of the fish. Shark finning takes place at sea so the fishers only have to transport the fins.Shark finning is widespread, and largely unmanaged and unmonitored...

 and fishing by humans.

awhile the tiger shark is considered to be one of the sharks most dangerous to humans, the attack rate is surprisingly low according to researchers. The tiger is second on the list of number of recorded attacks on humans, with the great white shark
Great white shark
The great white shark, scientific name Carcharodon carcharias, also known as the great white, white pointer, white shark, or white death, is a large lamniform shark found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans. It is known for its size, with the largest individuals known to have approached...

 being first. They often visit shallow reefs, harbors and canals, creating the potential for encounter with humans.

Taxonomy

The shark was first described by Peron
François Péron
François Auguste Péron was a French naturalist and explorer. He is credited with the first use of the term anthropology.-Explorations:...

 and Lessueur
Charles Alexandre Lesueur
Charles Alexandre Lesueur was a French naturalist, artist and explorer.Pictured here is the oil portrait by Charles Willson Peale of Charles-Alexandre Lesueur...

 in 1822, and was given the name Squalus cuvier. Müller
Johannes Peter Müller
Johannes Peter Müller , was a German physiologist, comparative anatomist, and ichthyologist not only known for his discoveries but also for his ability to synthesize knowledge.-Early years and education:...

 and Henle
Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle
Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle was a German physician, pathologist and anatomist. He is credited with the discovery of the loop of Henle in the kidney. His essay "On Miasma and Contagia" was an early argument for the germ theory of disease...

 in 1837 renamed it Galeocerdo tigrinus. The genus, Galeocerdo, is derived from the Greek galeos which means shark and the Latin cerdus which means the hard hairs of pigs. It is often colloquially called the man-eater shark.

The tiger shark is a member of the order Carcharhiniformes
Carcharhiniformes
The ground sharks, order Carcharhiniformes, are the largest order of sharks. With over 270 species, carcharhiniforms include a number of common types, such as the blue shark, catsharks, swellsharks, and sandbar shark....

. Members of this order are characterized by the presence of a nictitating membrane
Nictitating membrane
The nictitating membrane is a transparent or translucent third eyelid present in some animals that can be drawn across the eye for protection and to moisten it while maintaining visibility. Some reptiles, birds, and sharks have a full nictitating membrane; in many mammals, there is a small...

 over the eyes, two dorsal fins, an anal fin, and five gill
Gill
A gill is a respiratory organ found in many aquatic organisms that extracts dissolved oxygen from water, afterward excreting carbon dioxide. The gills of some species such as hermit crabs have adapted to allow respiration on land provided they are kept moist...

 slits. It is the largest member of the Carcharhinidae family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

, commonly referred to as requiem shark
Requiem shark
Requiem sharks are a family, Carcharhinidae, of sharks in the order Carcharhiniformes, containing migratory, live-bearing sharks of warm seas such as the tiger shark, the blue shark, the bull shark, and the milk shark.The name may be related to the French word for shark, "requin", itself of...

s. This family includes some other well-known sharks, such as the blue shark
Blue shark
The blue shark is a species of requiem shark, family Carcharhinidae, that inhabits deep waters in the world's temperate and tropical oceans. Preferring cooler waters, blue sharks migrate long distances, for example from New England to South America. Although generally lethargic, they can move very...

, lemon shark
Lemon shark
The lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris, is a shark in the family Carcharhinidae, that can grow to long. It is known as the lemon shark because, at certain depths, light interacting with the local seawater can give this shark a tanned and yellow pitted appearance, much like the surface of a...

 and bull shark
Bull shark
The bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas, also known as Zambezi shark or unofficially known as Zambi in Africa and Nicaragua shark in Nicaragua, is a shark common worldwide in warm, shallow waters along coasts and in rivers...

.

Range and habitat

The tiger shark is often found close to the coast, mainly in tropical and sub-tropical
Subtropics
The subtropics are the geographical and climatical zone of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropical zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S...

 waters throughout the world. Along with the great white shark
Great white shark
The great white shark, scientific name Carcharodon carcharias, also known as the great white, white pointer, white shark, or white death, is a large lamniform shark found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans. It is known for its size, with the largest individuals known to have approached...

, Pacific sleeper shark
Pacific sleeper shark
The Pacific sleeper shark, Somniosus pacificus, is a sleeper shark of the family Somniosidae, found circumglobally on continental shelves and slopes in temperate waters between latitudes 70°N and 47°S, from the surface to...

, Greenland shark
Greenland shark
The Greenland shark, Somniosus microcephalus, also known as the sleeper shark, gurry shark, ground shark, grey shark, or by the Inuit languages name Eqalussuaq, is a large shark native to the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean around Greenland and Iceland. These sharks live farther north than any...

 and sixgill shark, tiger sharks are among the largest extant sharks. Its behavior is primarily nomadic but is guided by warmer currents, and it stays closer to the equator throughout the colder months. It tends to stay in deep waters that line reefs, but it does move into channels to pursue prey in shallower waters. In the western Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

, the shark has been found as far north as Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and as far south as New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

.

A number of tiger sharks can be seen at Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

, North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n beaches and parts of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. It is also commonly known in the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

. Other locations where tiger sharks are seen include Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

.

Certain tiger sharks have been recorded at depths just shy of 900 metres (2,952.8 ft) but some sources claim they move into shallow water that is normally thought to be too shallow for a species of its size. A recent study showed that the average tiger shark would be recorded at 350 metres (1,148.3 ft), making it uncommon to see tiger sharks in shallow water. However, tiger sharks in Hawaii have been observed in depths as shallow as 10ft and regularly observed in coastal waters at depths of 20 to 40 ft. They often visit shallow reefs, harbors and canals, creating the potential for encounters with humans.

The tiger shark is known as tababa in Kiribati
Gilbertese language
-External links:**** with Gilbertese – English Translations from – The Rosetta Edition**...

 and Tuvaluan. Tiger sharks have been observed feeding in the tidal passages between the lagoon and ocean in Tarawa, Kiribati
Kiribati
Kiribati , officially the Republic of Kiribati, is an island nation located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean. The permanent population exceeds just over 100,000 , and is composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, straddling the...

. Spring tides bring in plankton
Plankton
Plankton are any drifting organisms that inhabit the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water. That is, plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than phylogenetic or taxonomic classification...

 or animalcule
Animalcule
Animalcule is an older term for a microscopic animal or protozoan. Some better-known animalcules include:* Actinophrys, and other heliozoa, called sun animalcules...

, which attract small soft-shell crabs, which attract sardines, which attract the grey mullet
Mullet (fish)
The mullets or grey mullets are a family and order of ray-finned fish found worldwide in coastal temperate and tropical waters, and in some species in fresh water. Mullets have served as an important source of food in Mediterranean Europe since Roman times...

, which attract the blue backed trevally
Carangidae
Carangidae is a family of fish which includes the jacks, pompanos, jack mackerels, and scads.They are marine fish found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans...

 (rereba), which then attract the tiger shark (tababa).

Anatomy and appearance

Size

One of the largest sharks living today, the tiger shark commonly attains a length of 3 to 4.2 m (9.8 to 13.8 ft) and weighs around 385–635 kg (848.8–1,399.9 lb). Sometimes a male tiger shark can grow up to 4.5 meters (14-15 feet long) and females to 5.5 meters (18 feet long). A tiger shark can sometimes rival a great white shark in size. The tiger shark can grow up to 14-20 feet long.

Biology

The skin of a tiger shark can typically range from blue to light green with a white or light yellow underbelly. Dark spots and stripes are most visible in young sharks and fade as the shark matures. Its head is somewhat wedge-shaped, which makes it easy to turn quickly to one side. They have small pits on the side of their upper bodies which hold electro-receptors called the ampullae of Lorenzini
Ampullae of Lorenzini
The ampullae of Lorenzini are special sensing organs called electroreceptors, forming a network of jelly-filled pores. They are mostly discussed as being found in cartilaginous fishes ; however, they are also reported to be found in Chondrostei such as Reedfish and sturgeon. Lungfish have also been...

 which enable them to detect electric fields, including the bio-electricity generated by prey. Tiger sharks also have a sensory organ called a lateral line
Lateral line
The lateral line is a sense organ in aquatic organisms , used to detect movement and vibration in the surrounding water. Lateral lines are usually visible as faint lines running lengthwise down each side, from the vicinity of the gill covers to the base of the tail...

 which extends on their flanks down most of the length of their sides. The primary role of this structure is to detect minute vibrations in the water. These adaptations allow the tiger shark to hunt in darkness and detect hidden prey.

A reflective layer behind the tiger shark's retina
Retina
The vertebrate retina is a light-sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. The optics of the eye create an image of the visual world on the retina, which serves much the same function as the film in a camera. Light striking the retina initiates a cascade of chemical and electrical...

 called the tapetum lucidum
Tapetum lucidum
The tapetum lucidum is a layer of tissue in the eye of many vertebrate animals....

 allows light-sensing cells a second chance to capture photon
Photon
In physics, a photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction and the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. It is also the force carrier for the electromagnetic force...

s of visible light, enhancing vision in low light conditions. A tiger shark generally has long fins to provide lift as the shark maneuvers through water, while the long upper tail provides bursts of speed. Tiger sharks normally swim using small body movements. Its high back and dorsal fin
Dorsal fin
A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of various unrelated marine and freshwater vertebrates, including most fishes, marine mammals , and the ichthyosaurs...

 act as a pivot, allowing it to spin quickly on its axis, though the shark's dorsal fin
Dorsal fin
A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of various unrelated marine and freshwater vertebrates, including most fishes, marine mammals , and the ichthyosaurs...

s are distinctively close to its tail.

Its teeth are specialized to slice through flesh, bone, and other tough substances such as turtle shells. Like most sharks, however, its teeth are continually replaced by rows of new teeth.

foods

The tiger shark is an apex predator
Apex predator
Apex predators are predators that have no predators of their own, residing at the top of their food chain. Zoologists define predation as the killing and consumption of another organism...

 and has a reputation for eating anything. It also possesses the capability to take on large prey. It commonly preys upon fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 (teleosts
Teleostei
Teleostei is one of three infraclasses in class Actinopterygii, the ray-finned fishes. This diverse group, which arose in the Triassic period, includes 20,000 extant species in about 40 orders; most living fishes are members of this group...

), crustaceans, mollusks, dugongs, seabird
Seabird
Seabirds are birds that have adapted to life within the marine environment. While seabirds vary greatly in lifestyle, behaviour and physiology, they often exhibit striking convergent evolution, as the same environmental problems and feeding niches have resulted in similar adaptations...

s, seasnakes, marine mammal
Marine mammal
Marine mammals, which include seals, whales, dolphins, and walruses, form a diverse group of 128 species that rely on the ocean for their existence. They do not represent a distinct biological grouping, but rather are unified by their reliance on the marine environment for feeding. The level of...

s (e.g. bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins), and sea turtle
Sea turtle
Sea turtles are marine reptiles that inhabit all of the world's oceans except the Arctic.-Distribution:...

s (e.g. green and loggerhead turtles). The broad, heavily calcified jaws and nearly terminal mouth, combined with robust, serrated teeth, enable the tiger shark to take on these large prey. In addition, excellent eyesight and acute sense of smell
Olfaction
Olfaction is the sense of smell. This sense is mediated by specialized sensory cells of the nasal cavity of vertebrates, and, by analogy, sensory cells of the antennae of invertebrates...

 enable it to react to faint traces of blood and follow them to the source. Due to high risk of predatory attacks, dolphins often avoid regions inhabited by tiger sharks. The tiger shark also eats other sharks (such as sandbar sharks) and will even eat conspecifics
Conspecificity
Conspecificity is a concept in biology. Two or more individual organisms, populations, or taxa are conspecific if they belong to the same species....

.

Tiger sharks may also attack injured or ailing whales and prey upon them. A group was documented attacking and killing an ailing humpback whale
Humpback Whale
The humpback whale is a species of baleen whale. One of the larger rorqual species, adults range in length from and weigh approximately . The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. It is an acrobatic animal, often breaching and slapping the...

 in 2006 near Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

. The tiger shark also scavenges on dead whales. In one such documented incident, they were observed scavenging on a whale carcass alongside great white shark
Great white shark
The great white shark, scientific name Carcharodon carcharias, also known as the great white, white pointer, white shark, or white death, is a large lamniform shark found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans. It is known for its size, with the largest individuals known to have approached...

s, Carcharodon carcharias.

The ability to pick up low-frequency pressure waves enables the shark to advance towards an animal with confidence, even in murky water. The shark circles its prey and studies it by prodding it with its snout. When attacking, the shark often eats its prey whole. Because of its aggressive feeding, it often mistakenly eats inedible objects, such as automobile license plates
Vehicle registration plate
A vehicle registration plate is a metal or plastic plate attached to a motor vehicle or trailer for official identification purposes. The registration identifier is a numeric or alphanumeric code that uniquely identifies the vehicle within the issuing region's database...

, oil
Oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

 cans, tire
Tire
A tire or tyre is a ring-shaped covering that fits around a wheel rim to protect it and enable better vehicle performance by providing a flexible cushion that absorbs shock while keeping the wheel in close contact with the ground...

s, and baseballs
Baseball (object)
A baseball is a ball used primarily in the sport of the same name, baseball. The ball features a rubber or cork center, wrapped in yarn and covered in leather. It is in circumference . The yarn or string used to wrap the baseball can be up to one mile in length...

. For this reason, the tiger shark is often regarded as the ocean's garbage can.

Swimming efficiency and stealth

All tiger sharks generally swim slowly, which, combined with cryptic coloration, may make them difficult for prey to detect them in some habitats. They are especially well camouflaged against dark backgrounds. Despite their sluggish appearance, tiger sharks are one of the strongest swimmers of the carcharhinid sharks. Once the shark has come close, a speed burst allows it to reach the intended prey before it can escape.

Reproduction

Males reach sexual maturity at 2.3 to 2.9 m (7.5 to 9.5 ft) and females at 2.5 to 3.5 m (8.2 to 11.5 ft). Females mate once every 3 years. They breed by internal fertilization. The male inserts one of his claspers into the female's genital opening (cloaca
Cloaca
In zoological anatomy, a cloaca is the posterior opening that serves as the only such opening for the intestinal, reproductive, and urinary tracts of certain animal species...

), acting as a guide for the sperm
Sperm
The term sperm is derived from the Greek word sperma and refers to the male reproductive cells. In the types of sexual reproduction known as anisogamy and oogamy, there is a marked difference in the size of the gametes with the smaller one being termed the "male" or sperm cell...

. The male uses its teeth to hold the female still during the procedure, often causing the female considerable discomfort. Mating in the northern hemisphere generally takes place between March and May, with birth between April and June the following year. In the southern hemisphere, mating takes place in November, December, or early January. The tiger shark is the only species in its family that is ovoviviparous; its eggs hatch internally and the young are born live when fully developed.

The young develop inside the mother's body for up to 16 months. Litters range from 10 to 80 pups. A newborn is generally 51 centimetres (20 in) to 76 centimetres (30 in) long. This shark typically reaches maturity
Sexual maturity
Sexual maturity is the age or stage when an organism can reproduce. It is sometimes considered synonymous with adulthood, though the two are distinct...

 at lengths of 2 to 3 m (6.6 to 9.8 ft). It is unknown how long tiger sharks live, but they can live longer than 12 years.

Dangers and conservation

Although shark attack
Shark attack
A shark attack is an attack on a human by a shark. Every year around 60 shark attacks are reported worldwide, although death is quite unusual. Despite the relative rarity of shark attacks, the fear of sharks is a common phenomenon, having been fueled by the occasional instances of serial attacks,...

s are a relatively rare phenomenon, the tiger shark is responsible for a large percentage of fatal attacks and is regarded as one of the most dangerous shark species. Tiger sharks are often found in river estuaries and harbor
Harbor
A harbor or harbour , or haven, is a place where ships, boats, and barges can seek shelter from stormy weather, or else are stored for future use. Harbors can be natural or artificial...

s as well as shallow water close to shore where they are bound to encounter humans. The tiger shark also dwells in river mouths and other runoff-rich water. On average, 3 to 4 shark attacks occur per year in Hawaii and most attacks are non-fatal. This attack rate is surprisingly low considering that thousands of people swim, surf and dive in Hawaiian waters every day. A notable tiger shark attack made headlines in October of 2003 when (then 13-year-old) American surfer
Surfing
Surfing' is a surface water sport in which the surfer rides a surfboard on the crest and face of a wave which is carrying the surfer towards the shore...

 Bethany Hamilton
Bethany Hamilton
Bethany Meilani Hamilton is an American professional surfer. She is known for surviving a shark attack in which she lost her left arm, and for overcoming the injury to ultimately return to professional surfing. She wrote about her experience in the 2004 autobiography Soul Surfer: A True Story of...

 lost her arm near her shoulder. Despite the attack, she returned to surfing a short time later. Hamilton is now a professional surfer and inspirational speaker. A large tiger shark was killed and hung, and later measured to be presumably matching the size and bite pattern of the shark which attacked Hamilton. As of 2009 there have been 119 attacks, 29 fatal.

Between 1959 and 1976, 4,668 tiger sharks were culled
Culling
Culling is the process of removing animals from a group based on specific criteria. This is done either to reinforce certain desirable characteristics or to remove certain undesirable characteristics from the group...

 in an effort to protect the tourism
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 industry. Despite these efforts attacks did not decrease. It is illegal to feed sharks in Hawaii, and interaction with them, such as cage
Shark proof cage
A shark proof cage is an extremely strong metal cage used by a SCUBA diver to safely examine dangerous types of sharks up close, such as the Great White shark or bull shark. Shark proof cages are built to withstand being rammed by large, powerful sharks. The cages provide a visual and tactile...

 diving, is discouraged. South African shark behavioralist and shark diver, Mark Addison, demonstrated that they could be interacted with and dove with outside of a shark cage in 2007 Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

 special.

The tiger shark is captured and killed for its fins, flesh
Flesh
In vertebrate animals, flesh is the colloquial for biological tissue which consists of skeletal muscles and fat as opposed to bones, viscera and integuments. Flesh may be used as food, in which case it is called meat....

, and liver
Liver
The liver is a vital organ present in vertebrates and some other animals. It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion...

. It is caught regularly in target and non-target fisheries. There is evidence of declines for several populations where they have been heavily fished, but in general they do not face a high risk of extinction. However, continued demand, especially for fins, may result in further declines in the future. Tiger sharks are considered a near threatened species
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

 due to excessive finning
Shark finning
Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins and the discarding of the rest of the fish. Shark finning takes place at sea so the fishers only have to transport the fins.Shark finning is widespread, and largely unmanaged and unmonitored...

 and fishing by humans according to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

While shark fin has very few nutrients, shark liver has a high concentration of vitamin A
Retinol
Retinol is one of the animal forms of vitamin A. It is a diterpenoid and an alcohol. It is convertible to other forms of vitamin A, and the retinyl ester derivative of the alcohol serves as the storage form of the vitamin in animals....

 which is used in the production of vitamin oils. In addition, the tiger shark is captured and killed for its distinct skin as well as by big game
Big-game fishing
Big-game fishing, often referred to as offshore sportfishing, offshore gamefishing, or blue-water fishing is a form of recreational fishing, targeting large fish renowned for their sporting qualities, such as tuna and marlin.-History:...

 fishers.

In 2010, Greenpeace International added the tiger shark to its seafood red list. The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries.

Mythology

The tiger shark is considered to be sacred na aumakua
Aumakua
In Hawaiian mythology, an aumakua is a family god, often a deified ancestor. The Hawaiian plural of aumakua is nā aumākua , although in English the plural is usually aumakuas. Nā aumākua frequently manifested as animals such as sharks or owls. Nā aumākua were worshipped at localities where they...

(ancestor spirits) by some native Hawaiians
Native Hawaiians
Native Hawaiians refers to the indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants. Native Hawaiians trace their ancestry back to the original Polynesian settlers of Hawaii.According to the U.S...

 who think their eyeballs have special seeing powers. This aligns with the general known facts about sharks and their highly developed senses.

See also


Sources

  • Canadian Shark Research Laboratory, Tiger Shark - Centre for Marine Biodiversity. Marine Biodiversity. Retrieved July 2011.
  • Greenpeace International Seafood Red list
  • Lad, Kashmira. Habitat of a Tiger Shark. Buzzle
    Buzzle
    Buzzle was the largest Apple reseller in Australia, the result of the amalgamation of several resellers. At time of collapse, Buzzle had sales of A$85 million, accounting for 40% of Apple Australia's turnover and operating 24 of Australia's 68 AppleCentres. The company formed in September 2000 and...

    . Retrieved July 2011.
  • Accessed July, 2011.
  • Tiger Shark - The Province of New Brunswick Canada. New Brunswick
    New Brunswick
    New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

    . Retrieved 2011-06-09.


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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