Mobile
Action Join Donate
MarineBio Conservation Society Ocean Conservation Marine Life Species Database Education+Careers Projects Sponsors Contributors Photos Videos News Contact
pinterest

Bignose Sharks, Carcharhinus altimus

Loading species photos...
Loading species photos...

Description & Behavior

Bignose sharks, Carcharhinus altimus (Springer, 1950), aka Knopp's sharks, are large sharks with slender bodies measuring up to 3 m in length and weighing up to 168 kg. They have long, wide, pointed snouts (for which they're named) and well-developed nasal flaps. This species has a prominent interdorsal ridge and long pectoral fins. The pointed first dorsal fin is located above or just behind the pectoral fins and the anal fin is located behind the second dorsal fin. The inner corners of the pectoral fins have black tips. The bignose is gray on the dorsal (upper) side, white on the ventral (under) side.

Bignose sharks resemble night sharks, C. signatus, in appearance. Night sharks are distinguished by their long rear tip on their second dorsal fins and green eyes.

World Range & Habitat

Bignose sharks are found in tropical and subtropical offshore waters in the western Atlantic Ocean from Florida in the US south to Venezuela. In the eastern Atlantic they can be found along the west African coast from Senegal to Ghana, and in the Mediterranean Sea. This species has also been sighted in the western Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and near Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, and India. In the Pacific Ocean bignoses can be found off the coasts of China and Hawaii, and in the Gulf of California south to Mexico, Colombia, and Ecuador in the east.

This species inhabits the edges of continental shelves and insular slopes in depths between 0-430 m.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

Bignose sharks feed on bony fishes such as mackerels, soles, and batfish, on other elasmobranchs such as dogfish, catsharks, and stingrays, and on cephalopods.

Life History

Bignose sharks are viviparous meaning females give birth to live young nourished a placenta sac during gestation. Litter size is between 3-11 pups that measure between 70-90 cm in length. Male bignose sharks reach sexual maturity at around 2 m in length, females between 2.26-2.82 m. Females give birth at different times of the year in different regions. In the Mediterranean, bignose sharks are known to give birth from August to September; off the coast of Madagascar, birth occurs during September and October.

Conservation Status & Comments

Bignose sharks are harmless to humans unless provoked and rarely come in contact with humans given their offshore habitat.

Bignose sharks are currently protected from commercial fishing in the US by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

References & Further Research

Featured Elasmobranch – Bignose Shark @ Pacific Shark Research Center at MLML
Shark Trust - Shark Information, great white sharks, shark pictures

Research Carcharhinus altimus » Barcode of Life ~ BioOne ~ Biodiversity Heritage Library ~ CITES ~ Cornell Macaulay Library [audio / video] ~ Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) ~ ESA Online Journals ~ FishBase ~ Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department ~ GBIF ~ Google Scholar ~ ITIS ~ IUCN RedList (Threatened Status) ~ Marine Species Identification Portal ~ NCBI (PubMed, GenBank, etc.) ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species Database ~ WoRMS

Search for Bignose Sharks » ARKive ~ Ask.com ~ Bing ~ dmoz ~ Flickr ~ Google ~ OceanFootage ~ Picsearch ~ Wikipedia ~ Yahoo! Images ~ YouTube

Feedback & Citation

Start or join a discussion about this species below or send us an email to report any errors or submit suggestions for this page. We greatly appreciate all feedback!


~^~ surface

Help Protect and Restore Ocean Life

Help us protect and restore marine life by supporting our various online community-centered marine conservation projects that are effectively sharing the wonders of the ocean with millions each year around the world, raising a balanced awareness of the increasingly troubling and often very complex marine conservation issues that affect marine life and ourselves directly, providing support to marine conservation groups on the frontlines that are making real differences today, and the scientists, teachers and students involved in the marine life sciences. Join us today or show your support with a monthly donation.

With your support, most marine life and their ocean habitats can be protected, if not restored to their former natural levels of biodiversity. We sincerely thank our thousands of members, donors and sponsors, who have decided to get involved and support the MarineBio Conservation Society.