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the web of life in southern Africa

Carcharhinus plumbeus (Sandbar shark)

(Nardo, 1827)

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

Carcharhinus plumbeus (Sandbar shark) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]


A stout grey-brown or bronzy shark with a moderately long rounded snout, very large erect first dorsal fin, high triangular saw-edged upper teeth, an interdorsal ridge, and no prominent markings. Underside white.


To 2.4 m TL, most adults smaller.


East coast from Algoa Bay to Natal and Mozambique; virtually circumtropical.



Coastal and offshore, from sandy beaches and shallow bays down to 200 m.


Common off Natal and northward, a summer visitor to the eastern Cape. Bears 1 to 14 young. Feeds mainly on bony fish, including kob, seabreams, porcupine fish, ribbonfish, and eels, but also small sharks, squid, octopi, cuttlefish, and shrimp.

Human Impact

Not dangerous. Often taken in Natal shark nets and by anglers.

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