Wednesday, March 16, 2011
March 16, 2011 : Tiger Shark
The tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, is a species of requiem shark and the only member of the genus Galeocerdo. Tiger sharks are relatively large macropredators, capable of attaining a length of over 5 m (16 ft). This shark typically reaches maturity at lengths of 2 to 3 m (6.6 to 9.8 ft). It is found in many tropical and temperate oceans, and is especially common around central Pacific islands. Its name derives from the dark stripes down its body, which resemble a tiger'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 crustaceans, fish, seals, birds, smaller sharks, squid, turtles, sea snakes, and dolphins.
While 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 being first. They often visit shallow reefs, harbours and canals, creating the potential for encounter with humans.
Tiger sharks are considered a near threatened species due to excessive finning and fishing by humans.
The tiger shark is often found close to the coast, in mainly tropical and sub-tropical waters worldwide, though they can reside in temperate waters. Along with the Great White shark, Pacific sleeper shark, Greenland shark and sixgill shark, tiger sharks are among the largest extant sharks. The shark's behavior is primarily nomadic, but is guided by warmer currents, and it stays closer to the equator throughout the colder months. The shark tends to stay in deep waters that line reefs but does move into channels to pursue prey in shallower waters. In the western Pacific Ocean, the shark has been found as far north as Japan and as far south as New Zealand.