Commonly known as the Whitecheek shark or wide-mouth blackspot shark, is a requiem shark of the Carcharhinidae family, found in the Indo-West Pacific Ocean.
Biology and Description:
The Whitecheek Shark has a slender body and long head with a rounded snout. The eyes are oval and haws have multiple rows of backwards-pointing, serrated teeth. The pectoral fins are long, narrow and curved and have pointed tips. The first dorsal fin is triangular and moderate size, the second dorsal fin is smaller than the first and bears a large black patch at its apex. The Whitecheer shark’s dorsal surface is grey or brownish-grey while its ventral surface is pale. This species grows to a length of about 100 cm. Their reproductive mode is viviparous, placental, with 2 to 4 pups in a litter. The size at birth ranges from 37 to 39 cm TL. No distinct seasonal reproductive cycle apparent, instead continuously breeding with most females pregnant or spent at any one time. Both males and females mature at about 70 cm. The maximum size in males is of 96 cm TL, and females are 100.7 cm TL.
The Whitecheek Shark has a wide tropical Indo-West Pacific distribution in coastal waters down to 170 m and locally is one of the most common whaler sharks of northern Australia. This small species is particularly susceptible to inshore fisheries, due to common bycatch and commercial trawls.
Conservation and threats:
The major threat for this species is from fisheries in relatively shallow shelf and inshore waters throughout the whole of its range. The life history characteristics of this species, together with its small size, make local populations particularly sensitive to fishing-induced declines. The size of closed areas that would be needed to conserve this species is not known. More data needs to be collected on movement patterns of individuals to assess the viability of such an approach.
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