Silky shark - Carcharhinus falciformis


Illustration © Marc Dando

A large slim oceanic shark with a moderately long rounded snout and an interdorsal ridge.

Dark brown to bronze above, white below. The shark has dusky fin tips and a faint white band on its flank.

Males mature when they are about 6 or 7 years of age and attain a length of 6.1 to 7.1 ft [1.87 to 2.18 m] and may reach a length of 9.8 ft [3 m]. Females mature when they are between 7 and 9 years of age and have attained a length of 7 to 7.5 ft [2.13 to 2.3 m], and they may reach a length of at least 10 ft [3.05 m]. The maximum size for this species is 10.8 ft [3.3 m].

The teeth of the upper jaw are serrated and have oblique to erect cusps, and the lower jaw teeth are erect.

The shark is found near edges of continental and insular shelves as well as the open sea. The shark has been found at a depth of 1,640 ft [500 m], but it also occurs inshore at the surface and in areas where the water is only 18 inches [45 cm] deep. The shark, abundant offshore and inshore, is oceanic, epipelagic and littoral. This species prefers sea temperatures from 73.5º to 75ºF [23º to 24ºC].



  • Prey – Pelagic and inshore bony fishes including tuna, albacore mullet and porcupine fish, as well as squid and crabs.

  • Reproduction – Viviviparous, with a yolk-sac placenta. Litters consist of 2 to 14 pups. Size at birth is 27.5 to 34.25 inches [70 to 87 cm]..

This is an active, fast and aggressive shark. It is frequently found with schools of tuna. The shark will give way to an Oceanic whitetip shark - Carcharhinus longimanus.

The shark usually ignores divers but make may a threat display when approached by divers, however, it has been implicated in several incidents.

In 2016, the Silky shark was placed on CITES Appendix II.