SHARKS OF HAWAI`I - The Most Common Inshore Species

- The Most Common
Inshore Species -



Species Aggressive To Humans:

Other Common Species:







 * Tiger Shark - Galeocerdo cuvier


Aggressive To Humans

Identification: Short vertical bars on side, fading with age to tan or dark gray; broad, blunt snout

Length: Up to 18 feet or more; averages 12-13 feet

Eats: Wide variety of marine animals, carrion

Habitat: Deep coastal waters during daylight, nearshore waters at night


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 * Galapagos Shark - Carcharhinus galapagensis


Aggressive To Humans

Identification: Large first dorsal fin with nearly vertical rear edge

Length: Up to 10-12 feet

Eats: Bottom fishes

Habitat: Outer reef to deep water, occasionally inshore areas near drop offs


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 * Scalloped Hammerhead Shark - Sphyrna lewini


Aggressive To Humans

Identification: Front margin of head has four shallow lobes

Length: Up to 12-13 feet with some reaching 15 feet; averages 5-7 feet

Eats: Reef fishes, sharks and rays, cephalopods, crustaceans

Habitat: Found inshore and far at sea; more common in shallow waters during Spring and Summer


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 * Gray Reef Shark - Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos


Aggressive To Humans

Identification: Pelvic and caudal fins have dark margins; second dorsal and anal fins dark; pectoral fin tips dark

Length: Up to 7 feet; averages 3-5 feet

Eats: Bony fishes, occasionally cepalopods and crustaceans

Habitat: Deeper waters on outer edge of the reef


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 * Blacktip Shark - Carcharhinus limbatus


Identification: Fins dark at tips, conspicuous white band extends forward from anal fin into gray area on side

Length: Up to 8 feet

Eats: Bony fishes, occasionally cephalopods and crustaceans

Habitat: Open ocean and coastal waters


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 * Reef Blacktip Shark - Carcharhinus melanopterous


Identification: First dorsal fin with large black blotch at tip and cream colored band below; other fins with black tips; caudal fin with black margin; conspicuous white band extends forward from anal fin into tan area on side

Length: Usually less than 4 feet; maximum of 6 feet

Eats: Reef fishes

Habitat: Shallow waters


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 * Reef Whitetip Shark - Triaeonodon obesus


Identification: Conspicuous white tip on first dorsal fin and upper lobe of caudal fin; second dorsal fin and lower caudal lobe sometimes white-tipped

Length: Up to 6 feet; averages 2-3 feet

Eats: Reef fishes, octopuses

Habitat: Shoreline; shallow reefs


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 * Sandbar Shark - Carcharhinous plumbeus


Identification: Large erect dorsal fin set forward on body; sloping forehead

Length: Up to 5-6 feet

Eats: Reef fish and crustaceans

Habitat: Shoreline, harbors and bays


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[Mako Shark Jaws]





Link here for some tips to reduce the risk of shark attack by clicking on these jaws of a mako shark - Isurus oxyrinchus .

[Tooth of Extinct Mako Shark]



Link here to return to the Sharks of Hawai`i home page by clicking on this tooth of an extinct mako shark - Isurus hastalis.



Click here for telephone numbers you can call to report the sighting of large, aggressive sharks in Hawai`i.



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