Carcharhinus falciformis

Common Name

Silky Shark

Year Described

Müller and Henle, 1839


Anteroposterior tooth rows: 14-16/14-17 on each side; 31-37/30-37 total
Vertebrae: 98-106 precaudal, 199-205 total

A large and slender shark with a moderately large and rounded snout. Eye fairly large. Distance between nostrils 1.2-1.6 times in pre-oral distance. Nasal flaps rudimentary or low. Upper labial furrows very short. Interdorsal ridge is present. Long preanal ridge absent. No keels on caudal peduncle. Gill slits rather long (2.9-3.6% TL). Teeth in upper jaws triangular, with oblique cusps, a notched outer margin, and heavy serrations basally. Lower jaw teeth thick-based and finely serrated, with slender, erect cusps. First dorsal fin fairly high (5.2-8.1% TL) with a convex anterior margin, a bluntly rounded tip, and inserted behind free tip of pectoral fin. Second dorsal fin much smaller (1.4-2.1% TL) and inserted directly above anal fin. Both dorsal fins with extended free posterior tips (second dorsal free tip more than twice height of second dorsal). Anal fin similar in size to second dorsal fin. Pelvic fin origin well behind free tip of first dorsal. Pectoral fin long, slightly falcate, with a pointed tip.


Gray, blue-black, to yellowish brown above, abruptly whitish below. Fins body colored without obvious dark tips.


Mature adults from 187-250cm TL (females avergae larger). Newborns from 70-87cm. Maximum size to 330cm TL.


Widespread pelagic in oceanic waters offshore, but also inshore, from 18-500m. Most often found near the surface.


New Jersey to S. Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and Bermuda.


Castro, J.I. 2011. The Sharks of North America. Oxford University Press, 640 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V. 2002. Sharks. In: Carpenter, K.E. (Editor) FAO Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of The Western Central Atlantic. Volume 1: Introduction, mollusks, crustaceans, hagfishes, sharks, batoid fishes, and chimaeras. ASIH Special Publication No. 5. FAO, Rome.

Compagno, L., M. Dando, and S. Fowler. 2005. Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press, 480 pp.