Silversides schooling in July Snorkeler on surface with son Alec waving.
Tiger Grouper, Big Eye Snapper, Queen Anglefish, French Anglefish, Strawberry Grouper, Snorkeling, Discover Scuba Diving, Open Water dives. Scuba Location Cayman.
  |     Tour Excursions  |   Editorial  |     |   Scuba Diving  |   Reef Identification  |    
 
INFORMATION   

  Snorkeling
      Guides
      Pirates Week
   

  Scuba Diving
      Location
      Shore Diving
   
Courses Offered

 

Our Sponser   
Cayman Islands Real Estate
One time purchase duty
No annual taxes
Cayman Islands


 
 


Information   

Site Map
Contacting Us
  Suggestion Box

 
 

Don't Miss   
Our Books
ONMOUSEOVER="window.status='In My Backyard'; return true">
ONMOUSEOVER="window.status='In My Backyard'; return true">In My Back yard
A Photo Essay of Armchair Reef
Cayman Islands

ONMOUSEOVER="window.status='Morning Coffee Break!'; return true"> ONMOUSEOVER="window.status='Morning Coffee Break!'; return true">Morning Coffee Break
 
 

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving : Fish Identification  

We offers Accommodations for two guest in a private beach Apartment, Private Guide for Shore Snorkeling, Discover Scuba Diving, Open Water Course or Guided shore diving trips daily!Email Email: Monte@CaymanSales.com  Monte.Thornton@Thornton.ky or Call 345-927-0315 Cayman Brac--where relaxation is a way of life.

Class Chondrichthyes - Skates, Rays & Sharks
Shark Identification

Distribution of sharks: "Gulf of Mexico" and Caribbean

The class of the Chondrichthyes or cartilaginous fishes is a very old class of vertebrates. The first shark-like animals lived in Devonian seas (about 410 million years ago). A common feature of all members of this class is the cartilaginous skeleton (hence the name). This skeleton is often calcified but never really ossified. The skull is in one, seamless part. The brain of all cartilaginous fishes has well developed frontal and olfactory lobes. Most of them have very good eye sight. 

The class of the cartilaginous fishes comprises sharks and rays. Chimera or Holocephali are also members of this class although there are many experts argue for putting them in their own class. During evolution rays flattened, developed their pectoral fins into wing-like structures and their mouth moved to the lower side. Sharks, on the other hand, developed into very efficient predators and colonized all marine spheres except the very deep sea. With very few exceptions all cartilaginous fishes fishes live in salt water. 

Sharks can easily be assigned to the 8 orders of sharks. Only the differentiation between Lamniformes and Carcharhiniformes could present problems in field studies as it is done on the presence or absence of a nictitating membrane. 

There are more than 470 known species world wide and 55 species are known to occur in Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.


Visual Identification

No anal fin

      Body Shape
      • flat body 
      • raylike 
      • mouth in front 
          Squatiniformes - Angel sharks (18 species) Sand devil only one in Gulf Of Mexico; Obvious difference is that angel sharks possess pectoral fins that are not attached to or connected with the head. Angel sharks also possess an enlarged caudal lower lobe but, like dogfishes, do not possess anal fins.

      Body Shape
      • not raylike 
          • Head Shape
          • long snout 
          • sawlike
              Pristiophoriformes - Saw sharks (9 species) American sawshark only one in Gulf Of Mexico; Obvious difference between the two is that saw sharks possess barbels and the teeth, located on the prolonged snout, are different sizes.

            Head Shape
          • short snout 
          • not sawlike
              Squaliformes - Dogfish sharks (113 species) 9 species in Gulf Of Mexico; Distinguishing feature is the lack of an anal fin. Most species also have a spine in front of the first dorsal fin. The majority are deep water species, and some have luminescent organs. 


Anal fin
      6-7 gill slits 
          Hexanchiformes - Frilled and cow sharks (6 species)3 species in Gulf Of Mexico, Sixgill sharks; Only have one dorsal fin. 

      5 gill slits and 2 dorsal fins 

        • dorsal fins with spines 
          • Heterodontiformes - Bullhead sharks (9 species)None known in Gulf Of Mexico; Strong spines in front of both dorsal fins 

        • dorsal fins without spines

            • mouth in front of eyes 
              • Orectolobiformes - Carpet sharks (34 species) 2 species in Gulf Of Mexico, Nurse sharks, Whale Sharks; barbels and spiracles, holes located behind their eyes, to suck in water. 

            • mouth behind eyes 

              • no nictitating membrane 
                • Lamniformes - Mackerel sharks (17 species) 6 species in Gulf Of Mexico, Great White Shark, Sandtiger shark, Shortfin Mako, Thresher, Bigeye Thresher, Crocodile shark; Tail equal oceianic swimming. Origin of mouth behind the eyes, conical snout, a pair of 5 gill slits, 2 dorsal fins, no nicitiating membrane. 

              • nictitating membrane 
                • Carcharhiniformes - Ground sharks (259 species) 34 species in Gulf Of Mexico, Cat Sharks, Bull, Reef, Blue, Tiger, Lemon, Hammerhead ; Tail has a shorter length on lower portion and upper notched or not. nicitating membrane (a flap of skin that functions as a third eye lid), 2 dorsal fins, an anal fin and five gill slits. Most of these sharks are found in tropical and temperate waters. 
                • Familie: Catsharks, (Scyliorhinidae) 6 species
                  •  Relative slender body slightly tapering toward head. Moderately long snout, bell-shaped and broad. (Preoral snout about 9 to 10% of total body length). Broad nostrils. Relatively large eyes (3 to 4% of total body length). Labial furrows present, positioned directly under the eyes. First dorsal fin about half the size of the second one. Origin of first dorsal fin slightly behind the insertion of the pelvic fins. Origin of second dorsal fin well in front of anal fin's insertion. Body surface almost silky-smooth (no fuzzy or feltlike texture). 
                • Families: Finback catsharks, (Proscylliidae) 2 species
                  •  Very slender, small shark. Nicitating membrane present. Two equal-sized dorsal fins. The position of the first dorsal fin is closer to the pelvic fins than to the pectorals. Very slender caudal fin.
                • Familie: Houndsharks, (Triakidae) 1 speciesTope shark
                  •  A slender houndshark with a long snout. Large horizontally oval shaped eyes. Origin of the first dorsal fin is over or slightly behind the free rear ends of the pectoral fins. Second dorsal fin is much smaller than first one and is of similar height as the anal fin that is opposite to it. 
                • Familie: Weasel sharks, (Hemigaleidae) no species
                  •  
                • Familie: Requiem sharks, (Carcharhinidae) 22 species
                  •  
                  • Distingusted by shape of snout. 
                  • Eyes by size and placement 
                  • First dorsal fin size and if falcate, shape of apex. Origin over the margins of the pectorals and location. 
                  • Second dorsal fin relatively position of the shark's total body length. Origin loctation to the midbase of the anal fin. 
                  • Small pectoral fins, falcate and shape rounded or pointed. 
                  • No interdorsal ridge presen 
                • Familie: Bonnethead sharks, (Sphyrnidae) 5 species
                  •  
                  • Broad and narrow-bladed head with a shape of anterior margin and no median indentation. 
                  • First dorsal fin is moderately falcate with a free rear tip that is in front of the pelvic fins' origins. Origin of the first dorsal fin is over the pectoral fins insertions. 
                  • Second dorsal fin is low and shorter than the anal fin. 
                  • Pelvic fins are not falcate. 
                  • Precaudal pit present. 


    The order Squatiniformes- Angel sharks; Like saw sharks, angel sharks are also often misidentified as rays. The most obvious difference is that angel sharks possess pectoral fins that are not attached to or connected with the head. Angel sharks also possess an enlarged caudal lower lobe but, like dogfishes, do not possess anal fins. This order includes 18 species, most of them of small size. An exception is the japanese angel shark, Squatina japonica, that reaches 2m. Angel sharks spend most of the day buried in sand ranging from very shallow water to 1300m. Typical species: Atlantic angel shark (Squatina dumeril)
     

    Families:Angelsharks, (Squatinidae), Genera Squatina

  1. Species (Squatina dumeril) Sand devil - Harmless. Western Atlantic

  2. Bizarre-shaped shark. Flattened, ray-like form with free anterior pectoral lobes lateral to the gills. Eyes on dorsal surface, very big spiracles. Terminal mouth. Both dorsal fins are on caudal peduncle. Lower lobe of caudal fin is longer than the upper one. 

    Coloration: Uniformly light beige, no ocelli (dark dots). 


    The order Pristiophoriformes -Saw sharks: Saw sharks (9 species) are a very unusual group that is often confused with sawfishes, which are rays. The most obvious difference between the two is that saw sharks possess barbels and the teeth, located on the prolonged snout, are different sizes. Only five species are known. One species, the sixgill sawshark (Pliotrema warrani), possesses 6 gill slits and lives on the south-eastern Cape Coast of South Africa. Not much is known about the general biology of this order. Typical species: American sawshark (Pristiophorus schroederi) 
     

    Families: Sawsharks, (Pristiophoridae)

    Genera Pristiophorus
     

  3. Species (Pristiophorus schroederi) American sawshark- Harmless. 

  4. Extremly long rostral saw (more than 30% of total body length), with barbels. Lateral teeth on the saw, about 13 to 14 on each side. Two dorsal fins. Origin of first dorsal fin about opposite of free rear tips of pectoral fins. 

    Coloration: Light brown. 
     
     


    The order Squaliformes - Dogfish sharks: This order represents the second largest order and includes 7 families and about 113 species and their most distinguishing feature is the lack of an anal fin. Most species also have a spine in front of the first dorsal fin. The majority are deep water species, and some have luminescent organs. Certain species can reach large sizes for instance the greenland shark, Somniosus microcephalus, with 7m. Scientists assume that the most abundant species of all known sharks may be the spiny dogfish, Squalus acanthias, the main species used for "fish & chips". Typical species: White spotted dogfish (Squalus acanthias)

    Families: Bramble sharks, (Echinorhinidae)
    Genera Echinorhinus
     

  5. Species (Echinorhinus brucus) Bramble shark - Harmless.Western Atlantic: Massachusetts to Virginia

  6. Scattered thornlike denticles on distributed on body and fins. Both dorsal fins far back. The origin of the first one is behind the origin of the pelvic fins. No anal fin. 

    Coloration: Grey to black. 

    Families: Dogfish sharks, (Squalidae)

    Genera Centroscymnus -

  7. Species (Centroscyllium fabricii) Black dogfish- Harmless. 

  8. Small dogfish with green eyes. Two dorsal fins with grooved spines, second dorsal fin is larger. Origin of first dorsal fin behind the free rear ends of the pectoral fins. No anal fin. 

    Coloration: Blackish-brown without white markings. Luminescent organs present and irregularily scattered. 
     
     

    Genera Cirrhigaleus - Species Centroscymnus coelolepis

  9. Species (Centroscymnus owstoni) Roughskin dogfish Need Information.

  10.  

     

    Genera Dalatias - 

  11. Species (Dalatias licha) Kitefin shark- Harmless. 

  12. Short, blunt-snouted shark of moderate size. Thick papillose lips. Two nearly same-sized dorsal fins, no spines. The origin of the first dorsal fin is behind the insertion of the pectoral fins. No anal fin. 

    Coloration: Greyish to black or dark brown. "Lips" have a pale coloration. Edges of fins are mostly transparent.
     

    Genera Euprotomicrus - 

  13. Species (Euprotomicrus bispinatus) Pygmy shark Need Information.

  14.  

     

    Genera Isistius - 

  15. Species (Isistius plutodus) Largetooth cookiecutter sharkNeed Information.

  16.  

     

    Genera Scymnodon - 

  17. (Scymnodon obscurus) Smallmouth velvet dogfish - Harmless. 

  18. Small shark, with a moderately long, pointed and flattened snout. Narrow pectoral fins. Dorsal fins with minute, grooved spines. Origin of first dorsal fin over or at the end of the free rear ends of the pectoral fins. Pelvic fins about the size of the second dorsal fin. Spiracles present. Caudal fin with strong subterminal notch and a short lower lobe. 

    Coloration: Blackish brown or dark brown, no conspicuous markings. 
     

    Genera Squaliolus 

  19. Species (Squaliolus laticaudus )Spined pygmy shark) Probably the smallest shark of all, maximum size about 25cm. - Harmless. 

  20. Very small, spindle shaped body. Pointed, long and bulbously shaped snout. The only known shark with a spine on its first dorsal fin but not on the second one. First dorsal fin with its origin opposite to the inner margins or rear tips of pectoral fins. No anal fin. 

    Coloration: Dark (black) with conspicuously light-margined fins. 
     

    Genera Squalus

  21. Species (Squalus acanthias) Piked dogfish- Harmless. 

  22. Small shark with two dorsal fins with ungrooved large spines. No anal fin. First dorsal spine origin is behind the pectoral rear tips. Lateral keels on caudal peduncle and upper precaudal pit. No subterminal notch on the caudal fin. No anal fin. 

    Squalus acanthias

    Coloration: Grey-brown upper body with whitish ventral surface. White spots along entire body. 
     


    The order Carcharhiniformes - Ground sharks More than half of all known shark species are ground sharks. This order represents the most typical sharks, such as grey reef shark, Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, and the blue shark, Prionace glauca. This order consists of 8 families with more than 259 species. Their distinguishing features are a nicitating membrane (a flap of skin that functions as a third eye lid), 2 dorsal fins, an anal fin and five gill slits. Most of these sharks are found in tropical and temperate waters. Ground sharks possess all forms of reproduction such as oviparity, aplacental viviparity (ovoviviparity) and viviparity. Typical species: Silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis)

    Families: Catsharks, (Scyliorhinidae): 
    Genera Apristurus

  23. Species (Apristurus parvipinnis) Smallfin catsharkNeed Information.

  24.  
  25. Species (Apristurus canutus) Hoary catshark - Harmless. 

  26. Relative slender body slightly tapering toward head. Moderately long snout, bell-shaped and broad. (Preoral snout about 9 to 10% of total body length). Broad nostrils. Relatively large eyes (3 to 4% of total body length). Labial furrows present, positioned directly under the eyes. First dorsal fin about half the size of the second one. Origin of first dorsal fin slightly behind the insertion of the pelvic fins. Origin of second dorsal fin well in front of anal fin's insertion. Body surface almost silky-smooth (no fuzzy or feltlike texture). 

    Coloration: Dark grey with blackish fin margins. 

  27. Species(Apristurus laurussoni) Iceland cashark - Harmless. 

  28. Relatively slender body, with trunk tapering slightly toward the head. Broad and moderately long, bell-shaped snout (preoral snout about 7 to 8% of total body length).. Adults have small eyes. Short gill slits. Large nostrils (incurrent and excurrent apertures large and oval). First dorsal fin about as large as second dorsal fin. Origin of first dorsal fin slightly anterior to the midbases of pelvic fins. Insertion of second dorsal fin about opposite insertion of anal fin. Pelvic fins high and broadly rounded. Short anal fin (slightly more than three times as long as high). 

    Coloration: Dark brown, no conspicuous markings. 
     

    Genera Parmaturus -

  29. Species (Parmaturus campechiensis) Campeche catshark - Harmless. 

  30. Slender, soft shark with relatively small dorsal fins. Origin of first dorsal fin over the origin of the pelvic fins. Second dorsal fin opposite the anal fin, both of same size. Broad snout, rounded. Gill slits are concavely shaped. 

    Coloration: Uniformly colored, grey-brown to grey-black, without conspicuous pattern. Ventral surface very light. 
     

    Genera Schroederichthys - Species Schroederichthys tenuis

  31. (Schroederichthys maculatus) Narrowtail catshark Need Information.

  32.  

     

    Genera Scyliorhinu

  33. Species (Scyliorhinus retifer) Chain catsharkNeed Information.

  34.  

     
     
     

    Families: Finback catsharks, (Proscylliidae)

    Genera Eridacnis -

  35. Species (Eridacnis barbouri) Cuban ribbontail catshark- Harmless. 

  36. Very slender, small shark. Nicitating membrane present. Two equal-sized dorsal fins. The position of the first dorsal fin is closer to the pelvic fins than to the pectorals. Very slender caudal fin. 

    Coloration: Light grey, with dark stripes over the caudal fin. 
     
     

    Families: Houndsharks, (Triakidae) 
    Genera Galeorhinus -

  37. Species (Galeorhinus galeus)Tope shark Endangerment: Threatened, since overfished. 

  38. A slender houndshark with a long snout. Large horizontally oval shaped eyes. Origin of the first dorsal fin is over or slightly behind the free rear ends of the pectoral fins. Second dorsal fin is much smaller than first one and is of similar height as the anal fin that is opposite to it. 

    Galeorhinus galeus

    Coloration: Bronze to grey-brown upper body, whitish pale ventral surface. 
     

    Families: Weasel sharks, (Hemigaleidae)

    Families: Requiem sharks, (Carcharhinidae)
    Genera Carcharhinus

  39. Species(Carcharhinus signatus) Night shark - Harmless.

  40. Large requiem shark with long and pointed snout. Circular eyes (diameter 1.8 to 2.7% of total body length). Small gill slits (height only about 2.5% of total body length). First dorsal fin is small and triangular with origin over the free rear tips of pectorals. Second dorsal fin is small and low (height about 1.7 to 2.1% of total body length) with origin over or slightly posterior to origin of anal fin. Pectoral fins slightly falcate, moderately long with narrow rounded apices. Interdorsal ridge present. 

    Coloration: Grey upper body, white ventral surface. No conspicuous markings. Sometimes has small black spots scattered over the body and an inconspicuous white band can be present over the flank. 

  41. Species (Carcharhinus brachyurus) Copper shark - Potentially dangerous.

  42. Fairly slender shark. Moderately long snout, narrowly rounded or pointed. First dorsal fin falcate and large with a pointed apex. The origin is over or slightly anterior to the pectoral rear tips. Second dorsal fin is small and low with an origin over or slightly posterior to the anal fin's origin. Long and falcate pectoral fins. No interdorsal ridge. 

    Coloration: Bronze or grey,with white ventral surface. Most fins with inconspicuous darker edges and dusky to black tips. A moderately prominent white band on the side. 

  43. Species (Carcharhinus perezi) Caribbean reef shark - Accidents are known and it is a potentially dangerous species.

  44. A stocky shark. Short, bluntly rounded snout. Origin of first dorsal fin over the free rear ends of pectoral fins. Second dorsal fin with a short rear tip and its origin is over or slightly anterior to the anal fin's origin. Large narrow pectoral fins. Weakly developed interdorsal ridge. 

    Carcharhinus perezi

    Coloration: Grey to brownish on the back, bronze colored on the sides, with white ventral surface. Underside of pectorals, pelvic fins, anal fin and ventral lobe of caudal fin are dusky colored.
     
     

  45. Species (Carcharhinus altimus) Bignose shark - This species does not seem to be a threat to people because of its deepwater habitat.

  46. Large shark with a rounded or bluntly pointed snout. Prominent nasal flaps. Nearly straight pectoral fins. The origin of the first dorsal fin over pectoral fin insertion to about over the mid length of the pectoral inner margins. Prominent interdorsal ridge. 

    Coloration: Light grey upper body, sometimes even slightly bronze coloration, with a white belly and dusky fin tips, except for the pelvic fins. No conspicuous markings. 

  47. Species (Carcharhinus acronotus) Blacknose shark - Harmless to humans, although a possible threat display known as "hunching", where the back is arched and the head raised, has been seen in animals in captivity.

  48. A small, slender shark with a moderately long and rounded snout. Origin of the first dorsal fin over the pectoral fins' free rear tips. First dorsal fin and pectoral fins are small. No interdorsal ridge. 

    Carcharhinus acronotus

    Coloration: Grey, greenish grey, sometimes yellowish grey or brown above with a dusky or black spot on the underside of the snout tip. Younger specimen possess a more prominent black spot. Black or dusky tips present on the second dorsal fin and dorsal caudal lobe. 

    - Species (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos )Grey reef shark - Accidents are known. Grey reef sharks are known to "hunch" when feeling threatened. Indian Ocean: Madagascar, Seychelles, and the Maldives. Western central Pacific: Thailand, Australia, New Caledonia, Philippines, Indonesia, east to the Hawaiian Islands and the Tuamoto Archipelago, Tahiti. 

    Medium-sized to large shark, with a broadly rounded snout. Origin of the first dorsal fin usually over or just in front of the free rear tips of the pectoral fins. No interdorsal ridge. 

    Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos

    Coloration: Grey upper body and white ventral surface. First dorsal fin entirely grey or irregularly white-edged. The entire posterior margin of the caudal fin shows a conspicuous broad black margin. Pectoral fins, second dorsal fin, anal fin and pelvic fin with blackish or dusky tips. 
     

  49. Species (Carcharhinus brevipinna) Spinner shark - This species is not dangerous to human beings, although it could be troublesome to divers when spearfishing.

  50. Large and slender shark with a long and pointed snout. Small eyes. First dorsal fin is small and semifalcate. Origin of first dorsal fin usually over or slightly posterior to pectoral free rear tip. No interdorsal ridge. 

    Coloration: Grey-bronze coloration, white belly. Most often with a narrow, white band on flanks, sometimes not conspicuous. Large juveniles and adults with black tips on pectoral fins, second dorsal fin, anal and ventral caudal lobe, and sometimes on pelvic fin, first dorsal and fin and dorsal caudal lobe, too. 

  51. Species (Carcharhinus falciformis) Silky shark - Silkies are generally regarded as dangerous or potentially dangerous to people, mainly due to the their size and abundance offshore, although no attacks have been attributed to them. When approached by divers, individuals have been seen to perform a "hunch" display, with back arched, head raised and caudal fin lowered, possibly as a defensive threat display. 

  52. Large, slim shark with moderately large eyes. Long rounded snout. Origin of first dorsal fin behind the free rear tips of the pectoral fins. Interdorsal ridge present. 

    Carcharhinus falciformis

    Coloration: Dark grey, grey brown or bronze brown upper body, sometimes nearly blackish, white ventral surface. The tip of the first dorsal fin is dusky but not black-tipped. Inconspicuous white band on flank. 

  53. Species (Carcharhinus galapagensis) Galapagos shark - Potentially dangerous species. Galapagos sharks perform a "hunch" threat display, with an arched back, raised head, and lowered caudal and pectoral fins, while swimming in a conspicuous twisting, rolling motion. 

  54. Large shark with a moderately long broadly rounded snout. Origin of the first dorsal fin over the mid lengths of inner margins of the pectoral fins. A low interdorsal ridge is present. 

    Coloration: Brownish-grey upper body, white ventral surface. The tips of most fins are dusky but not black. An inconspicuous white band on the flanks can be seen. 

  55. Species (Carcharhinus isodon) Finetooth shark - Not dangerous. 

  56. Small shark. Moderately long pointed snout. Fairly large eyes and very long gill slits. Origin of first dorsal fin over or only slightly behind to the insertions of the pectoral fins. No interdorsal ridge. 

    Coloration: Dark grey or bluish grey above and white below with an inconspicuous white band on the flank. No conspicuous markings on fins. 

  57. Species (Carcharhinus leucas) Bull shark - Probably the most dangerous species of tropical waters. Bull sharks are one of the three most dangerous species, beside the white shark ( Carcharodon carcharias ) and tiger shark ( Galeocerdo cuvier ) It would not be surprising if the bull shark would turn out to be the most dangerous shark species, because of its large size, massive jaws, proportionately very large teeth and abundance in the tropics.

  58. Stocky to very heavy-bodied species. Very short and broadly rounded snout. Small, circular eyes. First dorsal fin large and broadly triangular to somewhat falcate. Origin of the first dorsal fin usually over or just behind the insertions of the pectoral fins. No interdorsal ridge. 

    Carcharhinus leucas

    Coloration: Pale to dark grey. Fin tips are dusky, but not strikingly marked. An inconspicuous white band on the flanks. 

  59. Species (Carcharhinus limbatus) Blacktip shark - Very few attacks on people have been attributed to this species, and it is likely that without a food stimulus or other special circumstances that this species is of little hazard to people.

  60. Shark with a long and pointed snout. Small eyes. Origin of the first dorsal fin usually over or slightly behind the insertion of the pectoral fins. 

    Carcharhinus limbatus

    Coloration: Grey, grey-brown or bluish grey upper body, white ventral surface. Black tips usually present on pectoral fins, second dorsal fin, and ventral caudal lobe, and sometimes on pelvic fins. The tip of the anal fin is usually plain. A conspicuous white band on the flanks. 

  61. Species (Carcharhinus longimanus) Oceanic whitetip shark - Dangerous species.

  62. Large, stocky build, with a short blunt snout. Long, broad and paddle-shaped pectoral fins. High first dorsal fin. Origin of the first dorsal fin just in front of the pectoral free rear tips. Interdorsal ridge, may be absent or only weakly developed. 

    Carcharhinus longimanus

    Coloration: Grey-bronze upper body, white ventral surface. White mottling usually present on fins, particularly on the pectorals, first dorsal fin, pelvic fins and caudal fin tips. Flank with an inconspicuous white band. 

    - Species (Carcharhinus melanopterus)Blacktip reef shark - Not in Gulf of Mexico and missrepresented This species prefers shallow waters close inshore on coral reefs, at depths of only a few meters and commonly in the intertidal zone, often on reef flats in water 30 cm deep or less.
    Small typical requiem shark with a short, bluntly rounded snout. Horizontally oval eyes. Origin of the first dorsal fin is usually over the pectoral free rear tips. No interdorsal ridge. 

    Carcharhinus melanopterus

    Coloration: Usually light brown upper body, white ventral surface. First dorsal fin and ventral caudal lobe have a conspicuous black apical blotch, which is brilliantly highlighted proximally with white. A conspicuous white band on the flanks. 

  63. Species (Carcharhinus obscurus) Dusky shark - Potentially dangerous.

  64. Large, with a short, broadly rounded snout. Fairly large eyes. Origin of first dorsal fin is usually over or slightly in front of the rear tips of the pectoral fins. Low interdorsal ridge. 

    Coloration: Blue to grey upper body, white ventral surface. The tips of most fins are dusky, not black or white. Inconspicuous white band on the flanks. 

  65. Species (Carcharhinus plumbeus) Sandbar shark - Harmless.

  66. Medium-sized requiem shark. Round snout. First dorsal fin prominent, very high, with a rounded apex. Origin over or slightly anterior to pectoral insertions (ends). Second dorsal fin moderately high as well (2.1 to 3.5% of total body length). Origin over or slightly anterior to anal fin origin. Large pectoral fins, semi-falcate with narrowly rounded or pointed apices. Interdorsal ridge is present. 

    Carcharhinus plumbeus

    Coloration: Grey-brown upper body, white ventral surface. Tips and posterior edges of fins can be dusky colored but no conspicuous markings. 

  67. Species(Carcharhinus porosus) Smalltail shark - Harmless.

  68. Small requiem shark, with a moderately long and pointed snout. Eyes are large (diameter about 1.6 to 2.5% of total body length). First dorsal fin is large and falcate, bluntly rounded apex. Origin over the inner margins of the pectorals (can also be found slightly posterior to pectoral insertion). Second dorsal fin relatively low (2.2 to 2.8% of the shark's total body length). Origin over or slightly behind the midbase of the anal fin. Small pectoral fins, falcate and narrowly rounded or pointed. No interdorsal ridge present. 

    Coloration: Grey upper body, light ventral surface. Tips of pectoral, dorsal, and caudal fins sometimes have inconspicuous dusky or blackish marks. Sometimes have an inconspicuous white band on flanks. 
     

    Genera Galeocerdo -

  69. Species (Galeocerdo cuvier) Tiger shark - Potentially dangerous. 

  70. Unmistakable requiem shark with a very short, blunt snout, labial furrows and big head. Spiraculi present. Slender body behind the pectoral fins. Origin of first dorsal fin over free ends of pectoral fins. Low keels on caudal peduncle, slender and long caudal fin. 

    Galeocerdo cuvier

    Coloration: Dark grey with vertical tiger-stripe markings; can fade or be obsolete in adults. 
     

    Genera Negaprion 

  71. Species(Negaprion brevirostris) Lemon shark - Potentially dangerous.

  72. A short-nosed, stocky shark with big eyes. Snout is wider than long. Both dorsal fins are of equal size. Origin of first dorsal fin over free rear ends of pectoral fins. 

    Negaprion brevirostris

    Coloration: Yellow-brownish, with white ventral surface. 
     

    Genera Prionace 

  73. Species(Prionace glauca) Blue shark - Seems to be potentielly dangerous, although questionable.

  74. Slender, with long pectoral fins. Narrow head, with a parabolic snout (from dorsoventral view). Big eyes, without posterior notches. No spiracles. Origin of first dorsal fin behind the free ends of pectoral fins. No interdorsal ridge. Small keels on caudal peduncle. 

    Prionace glauca

    Coloration: Intense blue upper body, white ventral surface. No color pattern. 
     

    Genera Rhizoprionodon

  75. Species(Rhizoprionodon terraenovae) Atlantic sharpnose shark - Harmless.

  76. Small shark. Long, parabolic snout, with long upper furrows. Nostrils are far apart. Big eyes. Origin of first dorsal fin before or slightly before the free rear ends of the pectoral fins. Origin of second dorsal fin above midbase of anal fin or just in front of its insertion. No spiracles. 

    Rhizoprionodon terraenovae

    Coloration: Grey to grey-brown with white ventral surface. Adults have small light (white) dots on body, white margins on pectoral fins and and dusky dorsal fin tips. 

  77. Species (Rhizoprionodon porosus) Caribbean sharpnose shark Since this species is heavily fished, it must be considered threatened.

  78. Small shark. Long, parabolic snout, with long upper furrows. Nostrils are far apart. Big eyes. Origin of first dorsal fin before or slightly before the free rear ends of the pectoral fins. Origin of second dorsal fin above midbase of anal fin or just in front of its insertion. No spiracles. 

    Coloration: Grey to grey-brown with white ventral surface. Adults have small light (white) dots on body, white margins on pectoral fins and and dusky dorsal fin tips. .
     
     

    Families: Bonnethead sharks, (Sphyrnidae)
    - Genera Sphyrna - 

  79. Species(Sphyrna tiburo) Bonnethead - Harmless. 

  80. Very small hammerhead. Unique and very narrow, shovel-shaped head without an indentation on the anterior margin. Origin of first dorsal fin over the inner margins of the pectoral fins. Rear tip of the first dorsal fin ends in front of the pelvic fins. 

    Sphyrna tiburo

    Coloration: Grey-brown, white ventral surface. 

  81. Species (Sphyrna zygaena) Smooth hammerhead - Potentially dangerous. 

  82. Large hammerhead. Broad and narrow-bladed head with a broadly arched anterior margin and no median indentation. First dorsal fin is moderately falcate with a free rear tip that is in front of the pelvic fins' origins. Origin of the first dorsal fin is over the pectoral fins insertions. Second dorsal fin is low and shorter than the anal fin. Pelvic fins are not falcate. Precaudal pit present. 

    Sphyrna zygaena

    Coloration: Dark olive to grey-brown with white ventral surface. Undersides of pectoral fin tips are dusky colored. 

  83. (Sphyrna media) Scoophead - Harmless. 

  84. Small, with moderately broad and anteriorly arched hammer (mallet- shaped head), weak medial and lateral indentations on its anterior edge and transverse posterior margins. First dorsal fin falcate with the free rear tip ends over the pelvic origins. Origin of first dorsal fin over the inner margins of the pectoral fins. Second dorsal fin moderately high, not reaching the caudal fin with its free rear end. Precaudal pit present. 

    Coloration: Grey-brown with white ventral surface. 

  85. Species(Sphyrna lewini) Scalloped hammerhead - Potentially dangerous. 

  86. Large, with a broad, narrow-bladed head. Anterior margin of "hammer" is very broadly arched in adults, with a prominent median indentation. Somewhat falcate first dorsal fin with an origin over or behind the insertion of the pectoral fins. Free rear end of second dorsal fin nearly reaches caudal fin. With precaudal pit. 

    Sphyrna lewini

    Coloration: Grey-brown (olive), with white ventral surface. Dusky to black pectoral fin tips. Juveniles can have dusky coloration on the tips of the pelvic fins, the lower lobe of caudal fin and the free rear end of the second dorsal fin. 

  87. Species(Sphyrna mokarran) Great hammerhead - Potentially dangerous.

  88. Very large hammerhead shark. Anterior head margin nearly straight, with a median indentation. First dorsal fin very long, erect and falcate with the rear tip in front of the pelvic fin's origin. Second dorsal fin is high with a concave posterior margin. Falcate pelvic fins. Great hammerhead has a much higher first dorsal fin making mis-identification very unlikely

    Sphyrna mokarran

    Coloration: Bronze to grey-brown with white ventral surface. Adults have no markings on fins, while in juveniles the second dorsal fin tip is dusky colored. 


    The order Lamniformes - Mackerel sharks consist of 8 families and 17 species. They are a rather diverse group that lack a singular distinguishing characteristic and a combination of different features is needed such as: Origin of mouth behind the eyes, conical snout, a pair of 5 gill slits, 2 dorsal fins, no nicitiating membrane. Many of the sharks possess a counter-current circulatory system. This system enables them to maintain a higher body temperature and live in colder waters. Mackerel sharks include the biggest and fastest predators like white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) or makos (Isurus oxyrinchus). Most Mackerel sharks can raise their body temperature by means of a heat exchange system (rete mirabilis). There are only 16 species of mackerel sharks, belonging to 7 different families and 10 genera. Typical species: Blue pointer (Isurus oxyrinchus)

    Families: Sandtiger sharks, (Odontaspididae)
    Genera Carcharias

  89. Species (Carcharias taurus) Sandtiger shark - Harmless.

  90. Large shark with a flattened-conical snout. Body is compressed-cylindrical and moderately stout. First and second dorsal fin are equal sized with a broad base. Origin of first dorsal fin well behind the free rear ends of the pectoral fins. Origin of second dorsal fin slightly ahead of anal fin's origin. Anal fin is approximately the same size as the two dorsal fins. Upper caudal pit is present. Teeth are very prominent, with large narrow cusps and lateral cusplets. 

    Carcharias taurus

    Coloration: Light brown upper body, white ventral. Often has darker reddish or somewhat brownish spots scattered over the body. 

    Families: Crocodile sharks, (Pseudocarchariidae) Genera Pseudocarcharias -

  91. Species (Pseudocarcharias kamoharai) Crocodile sharkProbably worldwide in tropical waters. Western Atlantic: Cuba to northern Brazil. Small and very unique looking shark. Very big eyes, no nictitating membrane. Long gill slits. Small pectoral fins, small dorsal fins. Weak keels on peduncle, precaudal pit present. Asymetrical caudal fin (not lunate-shaped). 

  92. Coloration: Greyish-brown with white ventral surface. Sometimes seen with white dots. All fins have white margins. 

    Families: Thresher sharks, (Alopiidae)
    Genera Alopias

  93. Species(Alopias superciliosus) Bigeye thresher - Harmless. Large shark with a very long caudal lobe that is nearly as long as the rest of the body. Huge eyes. Notched or helmeted contour of head. Origin of first dorsal fin well behind the free ends of the pectoral fins. Pelvic fins large and nearly as large as first dorsal fin. Falcate and broad-tipped pectoral fins. Second dorsal fin and anal fin very small. Precaudal pit is present. 

  94. Coloration: Violet-grey upper body, whitish ventral surface. 

  95. Species (Alopias vulpinus) Thresher shark - Harmless. Typical thresher shark with a very long tail. The upper lobe is about half the entire size of the shark. Small eyes with orbits that do not expand onto dorsal surface of head. Forehead is strongly convex in lateral view. Frist dorsal fin erect and angular. Pectoral fins are falcate and narrow-tipped. 

  96. Coloration: Dark, metallic shine, ventral surface white extending over pectoral fins bases as a very conspicuous patch. 
     
     

    Families: Mackerel sharks, (Lamnidae)
    Genera Carcharodon

  97. Species (Carcharodon carcharias)Great White Shark - Highly dangerous. 

  98. Heavy spindle-shaped body, with a moderately long and pointed snout. Large gill slits. Origin of first dorsal fin over the free ends of the pectoral fins. Minute second dorsal fin. Very large pectorals. Crescentic caudal fin, strong keels on peduncle. 

    Carcharodon carcharias

    Coloration: Blue-grey to grey-brown coloration on back, with white ventral surface. Black blotches around the free rear ends of the pectoral fins. Undersides of the pectoral fin tips are black. 

    Genera Isurus

  99. Species (Isurus oxyrinchus) Shortfin Mako - Seems to be dangerous, although questionable. 

  100. Slender body, very hydrodynamic with a long and conical snout. Relatively small pectoral fins. Large first dorsal fin, minute second one. Crescendic caudal fin. Strong caudal fin on peduncle without secondary keels. 

    Isurus oxyrinchus

    Coloration: Metallic blue coloration with white ventral surface. 


    The order Orectolobiformes - Carpet sharks: This order represents a very diverse group with respect to size and shapes. It consists of 7 families comprising 34 species. Carpet sharks have barbels and spiracles, holes located behind their eyes, to suck in water. This order consists of 5 families with more than 30 species. Assorted members of this group include species such as whale sharks, nurse sharks, and zebra sharks. Typical species: Whale shark (Rhiniodon typus)

    Families: Nurse sharks, (Ginglymostomatidae) Genera Ginglymostoma 

  101. Species (Ginglymostoma cirratum) Nurse shark -Potentially dangerous. They are short-sighted and can easely be scared, however harmless by nature. 

  102. Broad and flat head, with moderately long barbels. Mouth is well in front of the very small eyes. Spiracles present. Two big and rounded dorsal fins. Origin of first dorsal fin about opposite of pelvic fins. Large, rounded pectoral fins. Very long caudal fin, over 1/4 of total body length. 

    Ginglymostoma cirratum

    Coloration: Yellowish-brown to grey-brown. No conspicuous markings. 

    Families: Whale sharks, (Family - Rhiniodontidae, Genera - Rhiniodon)

  103. Species (Rhiniodon typus) Whale shark - Harmless.

  104.  

     
     

    An unmistakable, huge shark with a broad, flat head. Truncated snout and very big terminal mouth. Origin of first dorsal fin over the pelvic fins. Second dorsal fin relatively small. Prominent ridges along the sides with the lowermost expanding into the prominent keels on each side of the lunate caudal fin. Prominent subterminal notch. 

    Rhiniodon typus

    Coloration: Greyish to dark color with a unique checkerboard pattern of light spots, horizontal and vertical stripes. 



    The order Heterodontiformes- Bullhead sharks; There are only 9 known species of bullsharks These bizarre looking sharks possess strong spines in front of both dorsal fins. As opposed to the other "spine-wearing" group, the dogfishes, bullheads possess anal fins. As their name implies, their heads look very dominant with big ridges above their eyes, and have a broad snout with very large labial furrows. Based on their heterogeneous teeth (their scientific name 'hetero-dontus' stands for different shaped teeth) they are considered as primitive group. Members of this order live only in the waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Typical species: Port Jackson shark (Heterodontus portusjacksoni)
    The order Hexanchiformes - Frilled and cow sharks; This order is the most ancient one. It consists of 2 families and 6 species. The most distinguishable feature is the possession of 6 or even 7 gill slits. This is considered a very primitive features, as most modern sharks possess only 5 gill slits. Compared to sharks of other orders, frilled and cow sharks only have one dorsal fin. These sharks have a widespread distribution and live preferably in deeper waters. The knowledge about their biology is still fragmentary. Typical species: Bluntnose sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus) 
    The family Hexanchidae: - Genera Heptranchias
  105. Species (Heptranchias perlo) Sharpnose sevengill shark - Harmless, although bites when caught. 

  106. 7 pairs of gill slits. Narrow, pointed head with large, green fluorescent eyes. One dorsal fin. Long caudal peduncle. 

    Coloration: Greyish-brown on back, lighter ventral surface. Tip of dorsal fin and caudal fin can be dusky, prominent in young, absent or faded in adults. 

    Genera Hexanchus - 

  107. Species (Hexanchus griseus) Bluntnose sixgill shark - Seems to be harmless. 

  108. Broad-headed shark, with six gill slits and subterminal mouth. Small, green fluorescent eyes. Only one dorsal fin. Its origin is over the free rear ends of the pelvic fins. Short caudal peduncle. 

    Hexanchus griseus

    Coloration: The dorsal surface is greyish-black or chocolate brown. Lighter marking along lateral lines. Ventral surface greyish-white. Fins with small white edges. 
     

  109. Species (Hexanchus vitulus) Bigeyed Sixgill shark - Probably harmless. Due to its lifestyle encounters with humans are rare anyway. Lives preferably close to the bottom down to depths of about 600m. This is a typical deepwater species but has been found at the surface in tropical waters too. 

  110. lender body with a narrow head. 6 gill slits. Very big eyes. One dorsal fin. 

    Coloration: Grey, with a white ventral surface. 

    Genera Notorynchus - Species Notorynchus cepedianus (Broadnose sevengill shark) Wide-ranged in temperate waters. Western Atlantic: southern Brazil, Argentina. Eastern Atlantic: Namibia to South Africa. Western Pacific: Japan, Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand. Eastern Pacific: Canada to California, Mexico, Peru, Chile. 



 





Email Us Now





Email Us Now



Email: Monte@CaymanSales.com

  --------------
----------------------------------------

Websites for Artists