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Odontaspis ferox:   (click for more)

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Synonyms
  •  
  • Odontaspis herbsti  Whitley, 1950: 234, fig. 1, pl. 17, fig. 1. Holotype: Australian Museum, Sydney, AMS-IB.2136, 168 cm immature male, Gabo Island, New South Wales, 137 m depth.
    Other Combinations:  None.
    FAO Names
    En - Smalltooth sand tiger, Fr - Requin féroce, Sp - Solrayo.
    3Alpha Code: LOO     Taxonomic Code: 1060200601
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Squalus ferox  Risso, 1810, Ichthyol. Nice, Paris: 38. Holotype unknown; type locality off Nice, France, in the Mediterranean Sea. Also, Carcharias ferox Risso, 1826, Hist. nat. Princip. Prod. Europe Méred., Paris, Poissons, 3: 122. Description virtually verbatim that of Squalus ferox Risso, 1810, and quite evidently a generic translocation, not a new species name. Placed on the Official List of Specific Names in Zoology (Name no. 2057) by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (1965, Opini
    Diagnostic Features
    fieldmarks: A large, bulky shark with a long bulbously conical snout, eyes moderately large without nictitating eyelids, mouth long and extending behind eyes, teeth moderately large with prominent narrow cusps and two or more pairs of lateral cusplets, upper anterior teeth separated from lateral teeth by 2 to 5 rows of small intermediate teeth, anal fin and second dorsal fin smaller than first dorsal fin but broad-based, first dorsal fin on back and closer to pectoral fins than pelvic fins, upper precaudal pit present but lateral keels absent from caudal peduncle, caudal fin asymmetrical but with a strong ventral lobe, colour medium grey or grey-brown above, usually lighter below, sometimes with darker spots scattered on body.

    Two to five (mostly four) rows of small intermediate teeth between upper anterior and lateral tooth rows; a pair of upper and a pair of lower symphysial teeth present; tooth rows numerous, 48 to 56/36 to 46 (88 to 102 total); root lobes of anterolateral teeth deeply arched and narrow; anterolateral teeth usually with 2 or 3 pairs of lateral cusplets.  Pectoral fins angular. First dorsal apex subangular in adults. Anal fin with height 4.6 to 6.0% of total length. Anal fin with strongly concave posterior margin. Caudal fin with ventral caudal lobe short but stout.  Medium grey or grey-brown above, lighter below, with darker dusky spots on sides of some individuals; fins dusky with blackish edges in young but uniform dusky in adults, first dorsal fin without a white blotch. 
    Geographical Distribution

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    Possibly circumglobal in warm-temperate and tropical waters but spottily distributed. Western Atlantic: Mexico (Campeche Bank), United States (North Carolina), Brazil (NE Natal). Eastern North Atlantic: France (Bay of Biscay), Madeira, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mediterranean (Algeria, Italy, Adriatic, Lebanon). Western Indian Ocean: South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal), NE and SE of Madagascar in open ocean?, Maldives, open ocean SSE of Sri Lanka, SW of Sumatra and Wof northern Australia.Western Pacific: Japan (Oshina Islands, SE Honshu off Izu-Shichito Islands), Australia (New South Wales), New Zealand and Kermadec Islands. Central Pacific: Hawaiian Islands (Oahu; record of 3O. owstoni3 from Pedestal Seamount in the Hawaiian range possibly this species or O. noronhai?). Eastern Pacific: United States (southern California), Mexico (Gulf of California, Baja California), Colombia (Malpelo Island). A cosmopolitan distribution has been proposed for this species (Bonfil, 1995) and further exploration of deepish waters around the world might unveil its presence in still unknown parts of its range.
    Habitat and Biology
    This shark is a little-known inhabitant of deepish water in warm-temperate and tropical seas, on or near the bottom on continental and insular shelves and upper slopes.Ranging at depths of 13 to 420 m. Also possibly epipelagic zone in 140 to 180 m over the ocean floor. Sometimes observed by divers near dropoffs on coral reefs.

    An active-swimming offshore shark, caught and seen as individuals and in small groups.
    Reproduction is sketchily known in the species, with litter size unknown. An adult female from the Gulf of California had its right ovary filled with hundreds of small eggs and suggests that the species practices uterine cannibalism in the form of oophagy. It is not known if developing foetuses attack and devour each other until only one is left in each uterus as in Carcharias taurus, or if larger litters are possible.

      This species feeds on small bony fishes, squid and shrimp. The teeth of this species and of Odontaspis noronhai are noticeably smaller and less robust than those of Carcharias taurus (with this species having larger anterior teeth than Odontaspis noronhai), suggesting that both species take smaller and possibly less active prey than Carcharias taurus. Also, the dentitions of both species are more weakly differentiated along the jaws, with their lateral teeth less specialized for cutting than Carcharias taurus and their posterior teeth not differentiated into specialized crushers. This suggests a more uniform diet of softer prey than in C. taurus.

    Apparently the offshore and deepish-water habitat of this species does not allow this shark to regulate its buoyancy by gulping air as in C. taurus; it does however, have a longer body cavity than C. taurus, with a very large, oily liver, and presumably uses this organ as its primary hydrostatic structure.

    Off Lebanon, adult individuals confronted by scuba divers may approach quite closely or slowly flee, and have been seen to hover (stall), gape, do a U-turn and do tail-shake (shaking their caudal fins vigorously) which may indicate ambiguity or mild agonistic reactions to divers or possibly conspecifics. Individuals have been seen with scars possibly from courtship or possibly low-intensity scarring. They occur singly and in small groups and seem to prefer swimming near the bottom, in sandy areas and on rocky reefs, sometimes following gullies or depressions in the reef (I.K. Fergusson, L.J.V. Compagno, K.J. Graham, F. Fakhoury, W. Noshie and W. Noshie, unpublished data).
    Size
    Maximum total length at least 410 cm and possibly larger; size at birth above 105 cm; male mature at 275 cm, females adult at 364 cm. Specimens recently seen by divers at Malpelo Island are said to be considerably larger than the known maximum, but specimens have not been measured or photographed in such a way as to confirm this.
    Interest to Fisheries
    This uncommon to rare but wide-ranging species is primarily fished in the Mediterranean Sea and off Japan with bottom gill nets, line gear, and bottom trawls, and less commonly elsewhere. It forms a discarded or utilized bycatch of deepwater line and net fisheries in areas where it occurs.
    It is used in Japan for human consumption and for its liver, which is very large and oily, and has a reasonably high squalene content. Its flesh is considered far inferior to that of Carcharias taurus in Japan.
    Conservation Status : Its conservation status is essentially unknown. It has been protected in Australia since 1984.
    Local Names
    South Africa : Bumpytail ragged-tooth shark ,  Bumpytail ragged-tooth ,  Ragged-tooth ,  Knopstert-skeurtandhaai .
    Australia : Sand tiger shark ,  Herbsts ,  Herbst's nurse shark ,  Smalltooth sand tiger .
    Malpelo Island : Tiger ragged-tooth .
    Italy : Can da denti ,  Cagnassown de foundo ,  Carcaria feroce ,  Lamia ,  Odontaspe feroce ,  Smidiru ,  Squalo feroce ,  Triglochide feroce .
    Spain : Salroig ,  Surraig ,  Solraig .
    Azores : Smalltooth sand tiger ,  Ragged-tooth shark .
    Adriatic : Psina zmij ozuba ruzicua .
    USA, California : Ragged-tooth shark .
    Japan : Fierce shark ,  Ôwanizame .
    Remarks
    Garrick (1974) recognized Odontaspis herbsti for members of the genus from New Zealand, Australia, California and Madeira that differed from the Mediterranean O. ferox only in lacking spots. This was followed by Bass, D'Aubrey and Kistnasamy (1975a) for South African spotless individuals, but Robins et al. (1980: 69) note that specimens from California may have spots or lack them. Observations of live O. ferox underwater in the Mediterranean Sea and off Malpelo Island also reveals individuals with and without spots (I.K. Fergusson, L.J.V. Compagno. K.J. Graham, F. Fakhoury, W. Noshie and W. Noshie, unpublished data). Apparently presence of spots reflects individual variation in a single species. Carcharias taurus is also variable in presence or absence of spots.
    Threat to humans: This shark has not been recorded as biting people, and recent underwater observations by ecotouristic divers in the Mediterranean and off Malpelo Island in the eastern Pacific suggest that it is essentially docile although sometimes inquisitive when confronted by people.
    Source of Information
    Sharks of the world An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2 Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Leonard J.V. Compagno 2001.  FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 2001. p.269.
    Bibliography
    Abe et al., 1968
    Anderson & Ahmed, 1993
    Bass, D'Aubrey & Kistnasamy, 1975
    Bonfil, 1995, 1997
    C. Roessler (pers. comm.)
    Compagno, 1984
    D. Perrine (pers. comm.)
    D'Aubrey, 1964a, b
    Daugherty, 1964
    Garman, 1913
    Garrick, 1974
    Gubanov, 1985
    I.K. Fergusson, L.J.V. Compagno, K.J. Graham, F. Fakhoury, W. Noshie & W. Noshie (unpublished data)
    Last & Stevens, 1994
    Maul, 1955
    Menni, Hazin & Lessa, 1995
    Michael, 1993
    Nakaya, 1984
    Pollard, Smith & Smith, 1995
    Quero, 1984
    R. Bonfil (pers. comm.)
    Risso, 1810
    Santos, Porteiro & Barreiros, 1997
    Seigel & Compagno, 1986
    Sheehan, 1998
    Springer, 1990
    Taniuchi, 1983
    Tortonese, 1956
    Villavicencio-Garayzar , 1996
     
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