- History and Culture
Galeocerdo cuvier belonging to the order of Carcharhiniformes (Ground sharks) and family of Carcharhinidae (Requiem sharks), is commonly known as the Tiger shark. This species is huge, with vertical stripes that resemble tiger stripes, it has a large snout that is slightly rounded at the edges. Its mouth has large, saw-edged, notched teeth. The overall body colour is grey. Juveniles are grey with dark reticulations that gradually change into vertical bars for individuals up to three meters in length. For individuals longer than 3 m, the bars are either faint or lacking. Its lifespan is about fifteen years. Adults commonly reach lengths of 3.3 to 4.3 m and weigh between 385 to 635 kg.
This species is present in tropical and warm temperate seas. The recorded depth range of the Tiger shark is between 0 to 800 m, but not much is known about its entire range.
It has one of the most varied diets, consisting of bony fish, sharks, rays, sea birds, seals, dolphins, sea snakes, cephalopods, crabs, lobsters, gastropods, porpoises, sea turtles and jellyfish. It can also consume toxic or armoured fish such as Lactoria cornuta or Diodon hystrix. They also consume anthropogenic waste that is dumped in the sea such as plastic, metal, sacks amongst others. It is usually a nocturnal feeder.
Mating reportedly occurs during the spring season in the Northern hemisphere and during summer in the Southern hemisphere. About 80 young ones can be born in one litter. Females remain pregnant for 14 to 16 months. Genetic studies report that this species is monogamous.
According to the IUCN Red list, this species is categorized as ‘Near Threatened’. It is regularly collected or trapped as by-catch alongside other species. There are evidences of population declines and increasing demands for fins may lead to the extinction of this species. No conservation measures are in place for this species but there are management plans in certain regions.
This species is known as ‘a man eater’ as it attacks humans frequently; second to great white sharks.