Milk Shark

About the Milk Shark

Milk Sharks can be found around the world. Their range occurs from West Africa to southern Japan. They commonly swim in shallow waters which make them vulnerable to fisheries and 200 m deep below the water.

Biology and Behaviour:

They are small sharks with a long, narrow snout, long labial furrows, big eyes and oblique-cusped teeth which may be smooth or weakly serrated. Its second dorsal fin is small and behind its a larger anal fin. They are grey, or grey-brown in colour with an off-white underside. Its dorsal and anal fins have black edges.    

They mainly feed on small pelagic and benthic bony fishes, cephalopods and other invertebrates.

Reproduction and Lifespan:

Milk sharks are viviparous. Females typically give birth between two to eights pups after gestating for approximately 12 months. The size of the pups at birth is between 25 to 39 cm and they mature between 70 to 80 cm long. The maximum length of a male is 175 cm.

The maximum reported age was eight years old.

Conservation and Tourism:

Despite its widespread occurrence in fisheries and the limited data available about their impacts on population, the IUCN has listed milk sharks as least concern because of their wide distribution and relatively productive life history.

There is an abundant number of milk sharks and they are commonly caught in fisheries.

Australia and India have documented their catches. In northern Australia, they are the most commonly taken in shark species in fish and prawn trawls. They also represent the 2% of the catch in gill nets and 6% of catch on longlines. Despite these catches, the Australian population does not appear to be affected.

Similar to Australia, milk sharks caught in Indian waters are from trawl fisheries. Though, there are no conservation measures in India for milk sharks.

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Milk Shark Gallery

Scientific NameRhizoprionodon acutus
OrderGround Sharks - Carcharhiniformes
CitesNot Listed
IUCNLeast Concern
Litter Size2-8
SpeciesRhizoprionodon acutus
Common Length175 cm
Max LenghtNA
Depth Range1 - 200 m
DistributionSoutheast Atlantic, Eastern Central Atlantic, Western Indian Ocean, Eastern Indian Ocean, Northwest Pacific, Western Central Pacific
EnvironmentBenthopelagic, Brackish, Freshwater, Marine