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Gregory R. Mann, Ph.D. {ret.}

Bronze Whaler Shark

“Carcharhinus brachyurus”

Bronze Whaler Sharks also known as Copper Sharks, reach a maximum of 3.25 meters in length and weigh a maximum of 305 kilograms. They are large sharks with blunt, broad snouts, narrow bent cusps on the upper teeth and no inter-dorsal ridges. They are gray to bronze in color on the dorsal side, white on the ventral side. The fins have similar coloring with the exception of the pelvic fins, which have dusky tips and the pectoral fins which have dusky to black tips. Bronze Whalers are found in subtropical waters between 45°N-52°S in the western Atlantic off the coast of Mexico, in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of Brazil to Argentina. In the eastern Atlantic, these sharks are found off the coast of France south to the coast of southern Africa to central Natal, South Africa.

It is thought that 2 separate populations exist in southern Africa. In the western Pacific, Bronze Whaler Sharks are found from Japan to New Zealand and in the eastern Pacific off the coast of southern California to the Gulf of California in Mexico and Peru. Bronze Whaler Sharks are found in offshore waters along continental margins. They occasionally enter inshore waters and large coastal bays. This species is migratory in the northern part of its range, traveling north in spring and summer and south in autumn and winter. This species feeds on pelagic (open water) and bottom bony fishes, cephalopods, smaller sharks and rays. Bronze Whaler Sharks are viviparous, meaning females nourish embryos with a placenta and give birth to live young. This species is slow to reproduce. They have been implicated in bites to humans, particularly spear fishermen.

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