Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

A deepwater shark inhabiting the continental and insular slopes (Ref. 50449, 58302). Pelagic (Ref. 58302). Ovoviviparous, embryos feeding on yolk sac and other ova produced by the mother (Ref. 50449). Feeding habits unknown.
  • Compagno, L.J.V. 1984 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/1):1-249. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 247)
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Distribution

Range Description

This shark is very rarely recorded, but apparently with a wide but disjunct distribution in the Atlantic (centre of distribution possibly in Brazilian waters) and Pacific Oceans. Odontaspis noronhai (Maul 1955), was described from a single specimen from Madeira, caught in 1941. There were no further records, until nine specimens were reported from Brazilian waters (24ºS 44ºW) in 1981. Two more specimens were also caught off Brazil from the same area in 1982 and 1984 and Sadowsky et al. (1984) provided the second published record of this species and confirmed its existence.

Further records of single fish have been reported from the Gulf of Mexico (1984) and Madeira (1952) (Branstetter and McEachran 1986), Hawaii (Humphreys et al. 1989) and southern Brazil (31ºS 49ºW, in 1991) (Araujo and Teixeira 1993). The species was also seen another nine times from November 1982 to April 1985 at 23º-26ºS and again in 1989 (U.L. Gomes pers. comm.).

A jaw of O. noronhai has been collected from the Indian Ocean or South China Sea (Sadowsky et al. 1984) and some teeth were also collected from bottom deposits in the central North Pacific, although not clearly identified as O. noronhai (Belyaev and Glikman 1970).
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Eastern Atlantic: Madeira and southern Brazil. Eastern Central Pacific: off Hawaii. May eventually be recorded from the Western Central Pacific (Ref. 13568). Questionably occurring in Seychelles.
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Nearly worldwide, scattered records ( including Hawaiian Islands).
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 3600 mm TL
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Max. size

367 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 247)); 326 cm TL (female)
  • Compagno, L.J.V. 1984 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/1):1-249. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 247)
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Diagnostic Description

Description

A deepwater shark inhabiting the continental and insular slopes. Reproduction and feeding habits unknown.
  • Anon. (1996). FishBase 96 [CD-ROM]. ICLARM: Los Baños, Philippines. 1 cd-rom pp.
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Snout conical and bulbous, tip rounded. Eyes large and ovoid, nictitating membrane absent. Body color uniform chocolate brown, all fins except pectorals with thin dark edging along posterior margin.
  • Humphreys, R.L. Jr., R.B. Moffitt and M.P. Seki 1989 First record of the bigeye sand tiger shark Odontaspis noronhai from the Pacific Ocean. Jap. J. Ichthyol. 36(3):357-362. (Ref. 37366)
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Very little information has been collected from the few specimens obtained. The maximum size reported was 367cm total length (TL) (male). A female of 321 cm TL was still immature. The reproduction of this species is presumably similar to that of the better-known laminids (oviphagous, see above).

Systems
  • Marine
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Habitat Type: Marine

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Apparently an inhabitant of the continental and insular slopes near the bottom at 600 to 1 000 or more metres and well off it near the surface at 100min water 640mdeep, and in the epipelagic and mesopelagic zone of the open ocean at 60 to 450 m in water 4 500 to 5 300 m deep. Its uniform dark coloration, similar to many deepwater oceanic teleosts, suggests a mesopelagic rather than epipelagic habitat, and it could be primarily an oceanic shark rather than a primarily slope-dwelling epibenthic species.
  • Compagno, L.J.V. (2001). Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2. Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 269p.
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Environment

pelagic-oceanic; marine; depth range 60 - 1000 m (Ref. 10722)
  • Springer, S. 1990 Odontaspididae. p. 81-82. In J.C. Quero, J.C. Hureau, C. Karrer, A. Post, and L. Saldanha (eds.) Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic (CLOFETA). JNICT, Lisbon; SEI, Paris; and UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 1. (Ref. 10722)
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Depth range based on 4 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 4 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 75 - 4000
  Temperature range (°C): 2.366 - 27.763
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.045 - 38.538
  Salinity (PPS): 34.376 - 36.379
  Oxygen (ml/l): 0.784 - 5.656
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.299 - 2.804
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.774 - 58.561

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 75 - 4000

Temperature range (°C): 2.366 - 27.763

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.045 - 38.538

Salinity (PPS): 34.376 - 36.379

Oxygen (ml/l): 0.784 - 5.656

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.299 - 2.804

Silicate (umol/l): 1.774 - 58.561
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 600 - 1000m.
From 600 to 1000 meters.

Habitat: bathydemersal.
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding on other ova produced by the mother (oophagy) after the yolk sac is absorbed (Ref. 50449). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205).
  • Breder, C.M. and D.E. Rosen 1966 Modes of reproduction in fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey. 941 p. (Ref. 205)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Odontaspis noronhai

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2005

Assessor/s
Amorim, A.F., Arfelli, C.A. & Fagundes, L.

Reviewer/s
Musick, J.A. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
This assessment is based on the information published in the 2005 shark status survey (Fowler et al. 2005).

The Bigeye Sand Tiger (Odontaspis noronhai) is a rare pelagic deepwater shark that is sparsely but widely distributed in tropical and warm-temperate waters, apparently an inhabitant of continental and insular slopes. It is so infrequently recorded that its biology and population status is unknown. Its life cycle and biology is likely to be similar to that of C. taurus, which has been found to be particularly vulnerable to fisheries, although Odontaspis noronhai matures at an even larger size.

History
  • 2000
    Data Deficient
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Population

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Odontaspis noronhai is rarely captured by fishing. All catches of O. noronhai from Brazil were made by tuna longliners based in Santos, except the one from southern Brazil, caught by gillnet (Sadowsky et al. 1984, Araújo and Teixeira 1993, Amorim et al. 1998). Presumably it is taken occasionally by deepwater fisheries with line and net gear, including pelagic gillnets, purse-seines and deep-set longlines. It may live mostly below the depths normally fished by horizontal pelagic longlines and purse-seines and is possibly too large to be a regular bottom or pelagic trawl catch (Compagno 2001).
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Data deficient (DD)
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
None.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: of potential interest
  • Coppola, S.R., W. Fischer, L. Garibaldi, N. Scialabba and K.E. Carpenter 1994 SPECIESDAB: Global species database for fishery purposes. User's manual. FAO Computerized Information Series (Fisheries). No. 9. Rome, FAO. 103 p. (Ref. 171)
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Wikipedia

Bigeye sand tiger

The bigeye sand tiger (Odontaspis noronhai) is an extremely rare species of mackerel shark in the family Odontaspididae, with a possible worldwide distribution. A large, bulky species reaching at least 3.6 m (12 ft) in length, the bigeye sand tiger has a long bulbous snout, large orange eyes without nictitating membranes, and a capacious mouth with the narrow teeth prominently exposed. It can be distinguished from the similar smalltooth sand tiger (O. ferox) by its teeth, which have only one lateral cusplet on each side, and by its uniformly dark brown color.

Inhabiting continental margins and oceanic waters at depths of 60–1,000 m (200–3,280 ft), the bigeye sand tiger may make vertical and horizontal migratory movements. It feeds on bony fishes and squid, and its sizable eyes and dark coloration suggest that it may spend most of its time in the mesopelagic zone. Reproduction is probably viviparous with oophagous embryos like in other mackerel shark species. This shark is caught incidentally by commercial fisheries, though so infrequently that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) cannot yet determine its conservation status.

Taxonomy and phylogeny[edit]

The first known bigeye sand tiger was a female 1.7 m (5.6 ft) long caught off Madeira in April 1941, on a longline set for black scabbardfish (Aphanopus carbo). The specimen was mounted and later formed the basis for a scientific description authored by German ichthyologist Günther Maul in a 1955 article for Notulae Naturae. He named the species noronhai in honor of Adolfo César de Noronha, the late Director of the Funchal Museum.[3] Maul assigned his new species to the genus Carcharias, which at the time was used for all members of the sand tiger shark family. When the Odontaspis came to be recognized as a valid genus separate from Carcharias, the bigeye sand tiger was reassigned as well given its resemblance to the smalltooth sand tiger (O. ferox).[2] Until more specimens were examined in the 1980s, some authors speculated that this species represented an extreme variant of the smalltooth sand tiger. Other names for this shark include black sand tiger, oceanic sand tiger, and bigeye ragged-tooth shark.[2][4]

Whether the bigeye and smalltooth sand tigers belong in the same family as the superficially similar sand tiger shark (C. taurus) has been debated among systematists, with morphological and dentitional studies giving inconsistent results.[2] A 2012 molecular phylogenetic analysis, based on mitochondrial DNA, supported a sister species relationship between O. noronhai and O. ferox but not a clade consisting of Odontaspis and Carcharias. Instead, Odontaspis was found to be closer to the crocodile shark (Pseudocarcharias kamoharai), suggesting that it and Carcharias should be placed in separate families.[5]

Description[edit]

The teeth of the bigeye sand tiger differ in shape from similar species.

With its heavyset body, conical bulbous snout, and large mouth filled with protruding teeth, the bigeye sand tiger looks much like the better-known sand tiger shark. The large eyes lack nictitating membranes, and behind them are small spiracles. The corner of the mouth extends to behind the level of the eyes, and the jaws are highly protrusible. There are 34–43 upper and 37–46 lower tooth rows; these include zero to two rows of small teeth at the upper symphysis (jaw midpoint) and two to four more rows at the lower symphysis. In each half of the upper jaw, the teeth in the first and second rows are large, those in the third and sometimes fourth rows are small, and those in the rows after are large again. Each tooth has a narrow, awl-like central cusp flanked by one smaller cusplet on each side; this contrasts with the smalltooth sand tiger, which has two or three lateral cusplets on each side. There are five pairs of gill slits.[2]

The pectoral fins are medium-sized and broad with rounded tips. The large first dorsal fin has a rounded apex and is positioned closer to the pectoral than the pelvic fins. The second dorsal fin is about half the size of the first and originates over the rear tips of the pelvic fins. The pelvic fins are almost as large as the first dorsal fin. The anal fin is smaller than the second dorsal fin and positioned behind it. The caudal peduncle has a crescent-shaped notch at the dorsal origin of the caudal fin. The lower lobe of the caudal fin is short but distinct, while the upper lobe is long and has a deep notch in the trailing margin near the tip.[2] The skin is covered by overlapping dermal denticles, each with three horizontal ridges leading to marginal teeth.[6][7] This species is plain dark reddish brown to chocolate brown, sometimes with black trailing margins on the fins or a white-tipped first dorsal fin. The eyes are dark orange with vertically oval, green-tinted pupils. There are several black patches inside the mouth, such as around the jaws, on the floor of the mouth, and on the gill arches.[2][8] The largest male and female specimens measured 3.6 and 3.3 m (12 and 11 ft) long respectively.[9]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Though extremely rare, the bigeye sand tiger has been reported from scattered locations around the world, suggesting a wide and possibly disjunct global distribution in tropical and warm-temperate oceanic waters.[1] Most known specimens have come from the Atlantic, where it has been found off Madeira, southern Brazil, Texas, eastern Florida, and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.[6] The only evidence for its presence in the Indian Ocean is a set of jaws that may have originated from the Seychelles, though the South China Sea is another possibility.[4] The existence of this species in the Pacific Ocean was first suspected in 1970 from teeth recovered from bottom sediments, which was confirmed over a decade later by captures from the Marshall Islands and Hawaii.[2][7]

The bigeye sand tiger has been caught between the depths of 60 and 1,000 m (200 and 3,280 ft). Some were recorded over continental and insular shelves, both from near the sea floor and in mid-water. Others were fished from parts of the open ocean that were 4.5–5.3 km (2.8–3.3 mi) deep, where they were swimming in the upper levels of the water column. Nighttime captures from relatively shallow depths suggest that this species may make a diel vertical migration, rising from the mesopelagic zone to the epipelagic zone at night to feed. In Brazilian waters, bigeye sand tigers are only captured in spring, hinting at some type of seasonal migratory movement.[2]

Biology and ecology[edit]

One account of a bigeye sand tiger that had been caught alive noted that it behaved very aggressively, thrashing and snapping violently in and out of the water.[7][8] Its large eyes and uniformly dark coloration are characteristic traits of a mesopelagic fish.[2][4] The bigeye sand tiger feeds on bony fishes and squid. Its reproduction is little-known but probably similar to that of other mackerel sharks, which are viviparous with embryos that feed on unfertilized eggs during gestation (oophagy). Adult females have a single functional ovary, on the right, and two functional uteruses.[6] Males mature sexually at somewhere between 2.2 and 3.2 m (7.2 and 10.5 ft) long, while females mature at around 3.2 m (10 ft) long.[2] No information is available on growth or aging.[6]

Human interactions[edit]

Because the bigeye sand tiger is encountered so infrequently, it has no commercial importance.[6] It is caught incidentally on longlines and in gillnets and purse seines, though the paucity of captures suggest that it mostly lives in waters too deep for commercial fisheries. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed this species as Data Deficient, citing a lack of biological and population data.[1] Since 1997, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has prohibited the taking of this species in United States waters.[6][8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Amorim, A.F.; Arfelli, C.A.; Fagundes, L. (2005). "Odontaspis noronhai". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Compagno, L.J.V. (2002). Sharks of the World: An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Shark Species Known to Date (Volume 2). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. pp. 55–57, 66–67. ISBN 92-5-104543-7. 
  3. ^ Maul, G.E. (1955). "Five species of rare sharks new for Madeira including two new to science". Notulae Naturae (Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia) 279: 1–14. 
  4. ^ a b c Martin, R.A. "Biology of the Bigeye Ragged-Tooth Shark (Odontaspis noronhai)". ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research. Retrieved May 15, 2013. 
  5. ^ Naylor, G.J.; Caira, J.N.; Jensen, K.; Rosana, K.A.; Straube, N.; Lakner, C. (2012). "Elasmobranch phylogeny: A mitochondrial estimate based on 595 species". In Carrier, J.C.; Musick, J.A.; Heithaus, M.R., eds. The Biology of Sharks and Their Relatives (second ed.). CRC Press. pp. 31–57. ISBN 1-4398-3924-7. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Castro, J.H. (2011). The Sharks of North America. Oxford University Press. pp. 218–220. ISBN 9780195392944. 
  7. ^ a b c Humphreys, R.L., Jr.; Moffitt, R.B.; Seki, M.P. (1989). "First record of the bigeye sand tiger shark Odontaspis noronhai from the Pacific Ocean". Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 36 (3): 357–362. 
  8. ^ a b c Kerstetter, D.W.; Taylor, M.L. (2008). "Live release of a bigeye sand tiger Odontaspis noronhai (Elasmobranchii: Lamniformes) in the western North Atlantic Ocean". Bulletin of Marine Science 83 (3): 465–469. 
  9. ^ Froese, R.; Pauly, D., ed. (2011). "Odontaspis noronhai, Bigeye sand tiger shark". FishBase. Retrieved May 15, 2013. 
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