Bull shark

  • The bull shark has relatively large eyes and black markings on the underside of the pectoral fins. The first dorsal fin is broad and slightly curved at the tip and the anal fin notch forms an obtuse angle
    The bull shark has relatively large eyes and black markings on the underside of the pectoral fins. The first dorsal fin is broad and slightly curved at the tip and the anal fin notch forms an obtuse angle
  • A map showing the distribution of the bull shark, which is found inshore, including estuaries, and offshore north of northern New South Wales and north of central Western Australia
    A map showing the distribution of the bull shark, which is found inshore, including estuaries, and offshore north of northern New South Wales and north of central Western Australia
  • The bull shark has a short, blunt and broadly rounded snout
    The bull shark has a short, blunt and broadly rounded snout
  • The upper teeth of the bull shark are broadly triangular and strongly serrated.
    The upper teeth of the bull shark are broadly triangular and strongly serrated.
Scientific name

Carcharhinus leucas. CAAB code: 37 018021

Family

Whalers (Carcharhinidae)

Other names

River whaler, freshwater whaler, Swan River whaler, Zambezi shark.

Frequent misidentifications

Pigeye shark (C. amboinensis).

Description
  • medium to large stocky whaler
  • similar to C. amboinensis but with the first dorsal fin three times higher than the second dorsal fin (as opposed to four times in C. amboinensis)
  • light to dark grey on the upper surface and pale underneath
  • pale stripe along the flanks
  • juveniles have dusky to black fin tips.
Distribution

Inshore, including in estuaries and rivers, and offshore.

Size

55 to at least 340 cm.

Fisheries

Inshore (and rare large specimens in offshore) gillnet fisheries, and line fisheries.

Further information

Last updated 23 April 2013