The Galapagos Shark is a species of requiem shark, family Carcharhinidae, found worldwide. Galapagos sharks are bold and have behaved aggressively towards humans, and are thus regarded as dangerous. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed this species as Near Threatened, as it has a slow reproductive rate and there is heavy fishing pressure across its range.
One of the larger species in its genus, the Galapagos shark commonly reaches 3.0 m (9.8 ft) long. The maximum length is probably 3.3 m (11 ft); a recorded maximum length of 3.7 m (12 ft) has been questioned by several authors. The maximum recorded weight is 195 kg (430 lb) for a 3.0 m (9.8 ft) long female. This species has a slender, streamlined body typical of the requiem sharks. The snout is wide and rounded, with indistinct anterior nasal flaps. The eyes are round and of medium size. The mouth usually contains 14 tooth rows (range 13–15) on either side of both jaws, plus one tooth at the symphysis (where the jaw halves meet). The upper teeth are stout and triangular in shape, while the lower teeth are narrower; both upper and lower teeth have serrated edges.
The first dorsal fin is tall and moderately falcate (sickle-shaped), with the origin over the pectoral fin rear tips. It is followed by a low midline ridge running to the second dorsal fin. The second dorsal fin originates over the anal fin. The pectoral fins are large with pointed tips. The coloration is brownish gray above and white below, with a faint white stripe on the sides. The edges of the fins are darker, but not prominently marked. The Galapagos shark can be distinguished from the dusky shark in having taller first and second dorsal fins and larger teeth, and it can be distinguished from the grey reef shark in having a less robust body and less pointed first dorsal fin tip.
Galapagos sharks are generally found over continental and insular shelves near the coast, preferring rugged reef habitats with clear water and strong converging currents. They are also known to congregate around rocky islets and seamounts.
The primary food of Galapagos sharks are benthic bony fishes (including eels, sea bass, flatfish, flatheads, and triggerfish) and octopuses. They also occasionally take surface-dwelling prey such as mackerel, flyingfish, and squid. As the sharks grow larger, they consume increasing numbers of elasmobranchs (rays and smaller sharks, including of their own species) and crustaceans, as well as indigestible items such as leaves, coral, rocks, and garbage.