Silky shark

Species Profile

Name: the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) is a species of requiem shark in the family Carcharhinidae. They are named after the smooth texture of their skin.

Appearance: silky sharks have slender, streamlined bodies. They can be distinguished from other requiem sharks by their small dorsal fins and long, sickle-shaped pectoral fins.

Size: they typically grow to a length of 2.5 metres.

Diet: silky sharks live in the open ocean. With prey often scarce in this environment, they are swift, inquisitive, and persistent hunters. They mainly feed on fish and cephalopods, and have been known to drive prey into compacted shoals before launching open-mouthed, slashing attacks.

Did you know: young silky sharks are known to form large groups of up to a thousand individuals. Sharks within a group have been observed to ‘tilt’ at each other, gape their jaws, and puff out their gills. They have also been seen suddenly charging and then veering away from each other. It is not known why they form such groups or what the behaviours mean. 

Location: they live throughout the open ocean in waters warmer than 23 °C. They favour the edges of continental shelves, and are often found over deepwater reefs and around islands. Silky sharks are highly mobile and migratory, although the details of their movements are little-known.

Best places to see silky sharks

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see silky sharks are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Great Barrier Reef
very high
very good

Photo credit: Syn, under a Creative Commons license from Flickr

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