The melon is relatively flat and merges seamlessly into the thick, moderately long rostrum. There is a prominent stepped arch at the midpoint of the mouthline that rises above the upper rostrum; in females this arch is less pronounced.
Adult males are dark gray dorsally and ventrally. Adult females and juveniles are medium gray on the dorsal surface and white ventrally. Sexually mature males often exhibit linear scarring from antagonistic sparring. Both sexes may have oval scars, usually attributed to the cookie cutter shark, Isistius brasilensis.
Adult body length ranges between 4.0 to 4.7 m. Recorded maximum body length for adult males and females is 4.7 m and 4.2, respectively. Length at birth is approximately 2 m.
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