Silky Shark (Carcharhinus falciformis)


Class: Elasmobranchii
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family:    Carcharhinidae
Size:    Length: Up to 11 feet (3.5 m)
Weight: Up to 763 pounds (346 kg)
Diet: Many different types of fish and aquatic creatures, including tuna, squid, crabs, albacore and mackerel
Distribution: Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans
Young:  2 to 14 pups
Animal Predators:  Unknown
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Young: Pups
Lifespan: Unknown



·         The first specimen described was given the scientific name Carcharias falciformis by Müller & Henle in 1841.

·         Silky sharks are named for their unusually smooth skin, which is a result of densely packed dermal denticles.

·         Between 1580 and 1998, there were only four recorded attacks by silky sharks on humans.   



These large, relatively thin sharks have fairly large eyes and an upper jaw equipped with pointed, strongly jagged teeth. They are characterized by a moderately extended, rounded snout, a sloping first dorsal fin, a small second dorsal fin with an extremely long rear tip (more than double the height), and a low inter-dorsal ridge. Their pectoral fins are long and slender, usually with dusky tips. Silky sharks have a bronze, grey-brown, or dark grey upper body, and a white underside. Their large, round eyes are yellow in colour. As with most other sharks, the females are usually larger than the males. 



Silky sharks are often found out in the open ocean, but occasionally can be found inshore where the water is as shallow as 59 feet (18 m). They prefer warm water of at least 23°C.


Feeding Habits

Silvertips feed on a large variety of fish and aquatic creatures, including tuna, albacore, mullet, mackerel, porcupine fish, squid, nautiluses and crabs. 



Females undergo a gestation period of approximately 12 months, then give birth to two to 14 live pups. The pups are 28 to 34 inches (70 to 87 cm) in length.



These sharks are active and move quickly through the water. They can be aggressive when hunting or when threatened, although around humans, they are known either to ignore them or are curious about them—attacks on humans are extremely rare. When silky sharks want to appear threatening, they raise their head and arch their back, lowering their tail.



Silky sharks are common throughout their range.



Sharks, Lee Server, The Image Bank, 1989.

The Encyclopedia of Sharks, Steve and Jane Parker, Firefly Books, 1999