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Tiger Shark
Tiger Shark

Class

Fish

Species

Shark

The Tiger Shark is a species of requiem shark and the only member of the genus Galeocerdo. Commonly known as sea tiger, the tiger shark is a relatively large macropredator, capable of attaining a length of over 5 m (16 ft). It is found in many tropical and temperate waters, and is especially common around central Pacific islands. Its name derives from the dark stripes down its body which resemble a tiger's pattern, which fade as the shark matures.

Characteristics Edit

The skin of a tiger shark can typically range from blue to light green with a white or light yellow underbelly. The advantage of this is that when it is hunting for its prey, when prey looks at the shark from above, the shark will be camouflaged since the water below is darker. And when prey is below the shark and looks up, of course because of the sun, it is lighter so that the light underbelly will also camouflage the shark. Dark spots and stripes are most visible in young sharks and fade as the shark matures. Its head is somewhat wedge-shaped, which makes it easy to turn quickly to one side. They have small pits on the snout which hold electro-receptors called the ampullae of Lorenzini which enable them to detect electric fields, including the weak electrical impulses generated by prey,which helps them to hunt. Tiger sharks also have a sensory organ called a lateral line which extends on their flanks down most of the length of their sides. The primary role of this structure is to detect minute vibrations in the water. These adaptations allow the tiger shark to hunt in darkness and detect hidden prey.

A reflective layer behind the tiger shark's retina called the tapetum lucidum allows light-sensing cells a second chance to capture photons of visible light, enhancing vision in low light conditions. A tiger shark generally has long fins to provide lift as the shark maneuvers through water, while the long upper tail provides bursts of speed. Tiger sharks normally swim using small body movements. Its high back and dorsal fin act as a pivot, allowing it to spin quickly on its axis, though the shark's dorsal fins are distinctively close to its tail.

Its teeth are specialized to slice through flesh, bone, and other tough substances such as turtle shells. Like most sharks, however, its teeth are continually replaced by rows of new teeth.

Habitat Edit

The tiger shark is often found close to the coast, mainly in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world. Along with the great white shark, Pacific sleeper shark, Greenland shark and sixgill shark, the tiger shark is among the largest extant sharks. Its behavior is primarily nomadic, but is guided by warmer currents, and it stays closer to the equator throughout the colder months. It tends to stay in deep waters that line reefs, but it does move into channels to pursue prey in shallower waters. In the western Pacific Ocean, the shark has been found as far north as Japan and as far south as New Zealand.

Food Edit

The tiger shark is an apex predator and has a reputation for eating anything. It also possesses the capability to take on large prey. It commonly preys upon fish, crustaceans, mollusks, jellyfishes, dugongs, seabirds, sea snakes, marine mammals (e.g. bottle-nose dolphins, spotted dolphins), and sea turtles (e.g. green and loggerhead turtles). The broad, heavily calcified jaws and nearly terminal mouth, combined with robust, serrated teeth, enable the tiger shark to take on these large prey. In addition, excellent eyesight and acute sense of smell enable it to react to faint traces of blood and follow them to the source. Due to high risk of predatory attacks, dolphins often avoid regions inhabited by tiger sharks. The tiger shark also eats other sharks (such as sandbar sharks) and will even eat conspecifics.

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