The most distinctive feature of this stocky, grey shark is its huge dorsal fin (3) (4), which increases its stability as it cruises the sea bottom in coastal areas. The sandbar shark belongs to the genus Carcharhinus
, a word derived from the Greek “karcharos” meaning sharpen and “rhinos” meaning nose (3), although this species has a fairly rounded snout (2). The species name plumbeus
comes for a Latin word meaning 'of lead' (3), presumably referring to its colouration, which is bluish to brownish-grey on the back, and lighter, or whitish, on the underside (2) (5).