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Carcharhinus brachyurus (Copper shark or bronze whaler)

(GŁnther, 1870)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) >.Chondrichthyes > Elasmobranchii > Galeomorphii > Carcharhiniformes > Carcharhinidae

Carcharhinus brachyurus (Copper shark or bronze whaler) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ©]]


A large grey to bronzy shark with a bluntly pointed broad snout, narrow bent cusps on upper teeth, no interdorsal ridge, and dusky or blackish fin tips. Underside white, fins not boldly marked.


To 2.9 m TL.


Almost entire coast, Namibia to central Natal; most temperate-subtropical seas.



Coastal temperate waters, surfline to the shelf edge and at least 100 m.


Common in Cape waters, follows the sardine run into Natal. Bears up to 16 young. Feeds mostly on bottom and pelagic bony fish, including gurnards, sole, hake, sea catfish, maasbankers, mullet, sardines, and sea bream, as well as small sharks and rays, squid, and cuttlefish.

Human Impact

Considered dangerous, but few attacks on people recorded. The `bronzy' or `copper' is frequently caught by anglers, commercial lineboats, trawlers, and the Natal anti-shark nets. It is processed for biltong in Gans Bay.

Text by Leonard J.V. Compagno, David A. Ebert and Malcolm J. Smale