Carcharhinus falcoliformis is a member of the family Lamnidae, which contains some of the largest fish in the world. This species lives in warm waters worldwide and is known for being highly migratory. In fact, it is believed that silky sharks migrate up to 2,500 miles every year. These sharks are usually found near the surface, sometimes even surfacing in large schools. One interesting thing about this particular shark is that it has a very distinctive appearance, and many people think that it looks like a catfish. Its body shape resembles a thin cylinder, and it gets its name because of how it looks like a silk scarf wrapped around its body.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists this species as vulnerable due to decreasing populations. There are several factors that contribute to this decline, including overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, climate change, and disease. However, there are still places where the silky shark is relatively safe. For example, it is protected under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
Silky shark Identification
Silky sharks are one of the most common sharks found around Australia. However, it can sometimes be tricky to distinguish between the two species. Silky sharks are larger than Galapagos sharks, and have a longer tail. Their fins are also much thicker and more pronounced.
The first dorsal fin of a silky shark has a sloping shape with a rounded tip. This makes it easy to spot because it is less obvious than the sharply angled dorsal fin of a Galapagos shark.
The second dorsal fin of a silk shark has a very long trailing end that is almost twice as long as the height of the fin itself.
The denticles of a silky shark are densely packed together, making the skin look smoother and shinier.
Silky shark size and Distribution
The silky shark is a small species of shark, growing up to 2.4 m (8 ft) long. Adults are dark gray above and white beneath; juveniles are lighter, with brownish spots or stripes. The dorsal fin begins about halfway along the length of the body, and extends well beyond the tip of the caudal fin. There are no gill slits. Its eyes are oval and large, with rounded pupils. A prominent ridge runs from behind each eye to the corner of the mouth. This feature gives the shark a “silky” appearance. Silky sharks swim slowly forward with their pectoral fins held out straight, like sails, giving the impression that they are floating. They feed mainly on fish, such as tuna, mackerel, squid, octopus, and cuttlefish. They often follow ships and boats, and are known to attack larger animals such as whales, dolphins, seals, and even humans.
Silky sharks are highly social, curious and active creatures. In fact, they are one of the most sociable sharks known. They are often found in groups, sometimes numbering up to hundreds. And while they do tend to avoid humans, they are still inquisitive towards boats and divers alike.
At certain locations, such as in Cocos Island off the coast of Costa Rica, silky shark populations congregate in large numbers. This makes them easy to observe, especially during daylight hours. However, it is important to note that silky sharks are extremely shy and rarely approach human divers.
Silky shark Reproduction
Silky sharks are viviaparous, meaning they give birth to live young. Females carry their offspring inside their bodies until it reaches maturity. After a gestation period of nine to twelve months, females will have between two and eighteen pups per litter. A female may have one or more litters each year, or she may have several litters over her lifetime.
Silky shark range
Silky shark habitat includes coastal areas throughout the tropical regions of the world. They are typically found in shallow waters, usually less than 200 metres deep, and are generally solitary animals. Adults are known to form small groups during breeding season. In some parts of their range, silky sharks are considered rare, while in others they are common.
The species is widely distributed across many oceans, including the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and Arctic Ocean.
Silky shark Diet
Silky sharks are found worldwide in tropical oceans. They grow up to 3 m long and live for about 50 years. Their lifespan is longer than most shark species. In contrast to other sharks, silky sharks feed mostly on small fishes, including juvenile tunas. They are able to capture prey without having to chase it down because they use their pectoral fins like wings to glide over the water surface. This allows them to catch fast moving prey even though they lack teeth.
The diet of silky sharks consists primarily of bony fish, especially young tuna, and cephalopod mollusks. In addition, they occasionally eat crustaceans, echinoderms (sea stars and sea cucumbers), polychaete worms, gastropods, chitons, amphipods, copepods, shrimp, octopus, jellyfish, sea turtles, and seabirds.
A study published in 2012 showed that silky sharks feed almost exclusively on juveniles of some commercially important fish species. These include yellowfin tuna, blue marlin, Atlantic sailfish, swordfish, wahoo, bonito, king mackerel, bigeye trevally, skipjack tuna, Spanish mackerel, blackfin tuna, and yellowtail snapper.
Threats for Silky shark
Silky sharks are primarily threatened due to overfishing and, following the blue shark, are among the second most commonly caught sharks in global fisheries. They are easily taken in longline and purse seines and are typically retained for the meat and fins. They are particularly vulnerable to those purse seine fisheries that utilize fish aggregation devices (FADs), large floating objects that attract prey, as silky sharks often aggregate around them.
Intense sustained fishing pressure on the silky shark has caused estimated population declines ranging from 47 to 54% globally. In certain areas, however, these declines may approach 90%. Given such severe declines, silky sharks are classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN red list and have been listed on Appendix II, restricting their international trade.
Relationship with humans
The main relationship silky sharks (Carcharhinus falciformis) have with people is as resources. As one of the most common caught shark species, they provide a significant source of meat, fin, liver oil and skin tissue for leather production.
However, they are also highly inquisitive sharks and are increasingly interesting to ecotour operators around the world, especially those operating in deep waters nearshore. In the Red Sea and off the coasts of South America they are regularly encountered and favorably viewed by photographers due to their inquisitiveness and close approach. They can also school in their hundreds in the Malpelo area off Colombia.
They are known to attack divers and snorkelers, particularly when they feel threatened. Their bite is generally considered harmless, although it does cause discomfort.
The hunting behavior of the Blue Whale shark is very interesting. In fact, it is one of the most successful hunters among all sharks.
Blue Whales are known to hunt mainly during night hours. Their prey consists of different types of fishes, including tuna and squid. A group of blue whales usually dives up to 200 meters deep. Once they reach their target, they start attacking it with lightning speed and wide open mouths, and sometimes even bite off pieces of flesh.
Learn Interesting Shark Facts About The Silky Shark – Shark Sider
The Silky shark is one of the most common species of shark found off Australia’s east coast. They are usually seen near rocky shores where there are plenty of fish to eat. Although they look like regular sharks, they belong to the family Carcharhinidae. This group includes some of the largest sharks such as great white, tiger and bull sharks.
They grow up to three metres long and weigh about 350kg. Males are slightly larger than females. Their colour varies depending on their age. Young ones are dark greyish brown while older specimens turn lighter brown.
Silky sharks are quite shy and rarely come into contact with humans. However, they do swim close to boats and surf boards. If you see one swimming nearby, keep calm. Do not try to touch it because it could bite.
Sharks are animals that spend much time underwater. When they surface, they breathe air through gills located at the sides of their head. Sharks use their fins to move forward or backward. Some species have teeth, but others don’t.
In general, sharks live in water temperatures between 15°C and 30°C. They feed on small fish, crustaceans, mollusks, cephalopods, sea turtles, octopus, eels, crabs, shrimp, clams, worms, jellyfish, and other marine life.
Shark attacks are rare. Most sharks prefer to avoid conflict with humans. But if attacked, they will defend themselves using their powerful jaws.
A few sharks are dangerous to humans. These include the Great White shark, Tiger shark, Bull shark, Hammerhead shark, Nurse shark, Porbeagle shark, Sand tiger shark, Leopard shark, Oceanic whitetip shark, Blacktip reef shark, Dusky shark, Basking shark, Short finned shark, Longnose shark, Ragged tooth shark, Dogtooth shark, Saw shark, Cat shark, Goblin shark, Angel shark, Cookiecutter shark, Scalloped hammerhead shark, Smooth hammerhead shark, Sicklefin lemon shark, Spotted eagle ray, Stingray, Box jellyfish, Jellyfish, Octopus, Squid, Cuttlefish, Sea anemone, Sea cucumber, Sea urchin, Sea star, Sea snail, Sea slug, Sea pen, Sea cucumber, Coral polyp, Sea fan, Sea anemone.