Dusky shark

The Dusky shark, Carcharhinus obscurus, is one of the larger species of shark, reaching 771.62 lb (350 kg). The Dusky shark is also known as the Black whaler and Dusky whaler. Less frequently used names include Bay-shark, Brown dusky shark, Brown shark, Common whaler, and Dusky ground shark.

Physical description

The dusky shark has a long streamlined body that is brown or gray above and white below. On the side of the body a stripe can be seen from the pelvic fins to the head. They can reach 11.98 ft (3.65 m).


The diet of the dusky shark includes small schooling fish such as sardines and anchovies, as well as larger fish like tuna, mackerel, flatfish and eels. The dusky shark also eats Dogfish, Catsharks, skates and rays and sometimes Bottlenose dolphins.


Females become sexually mature at about 10 ft (3 m), while males become sexually mature at 9.5 ft (2.9 m). They are viviparous and females give birth to a litter of 6 to 14 pups. After 16 months gestation the pups are delivered at a size of approximately 3 ft (95 cm).


The dusky shark is found worldwide in warm temperate continental waters extending from the surface down to a maximum depth of 1312.34 ft (400 m). Juveniles are often seen by scuba divers at Fairy Bower, near Shelly Beach, in the Sydney suburb of Manly.

Similar species

Sandbar sharks and Bignose sharks have higher first dorsal fins originating farther forward. The Dusky shark is hardest to distinguish from the Sandbar shark which has a smaller maximum size. Bignose sharks have longer snouts. The Silky shark has the second dorsal fin with free tip length usually more than twice fin height. The Night shark has green eyes. Bull sharks and Spinner sharks lack interdorsal ridges.

Danger to humans

The Dusky shark has not been linked to many attacks although it is considered potentially harmful. This is due in large part to its imposing size and propensity to dwell in shallow coastal waters.