Copper Shark - Marine Dynamics

Creature Feature – Copper Shark

This week on Creature Feature Friday we take a look at the Copper Shark. 

Known by many names, including the Narrowtooth Shark, the Bronze Shark, the Bronze Whaler, and the New Zealand Whaler, Copper Sharks are a ‘Requiem Shark’ species – large sharks that are usually found in warm seas. Other examples include the Tiger Shark and Blue Shark. 

Found worldwide in patchy populations, like many species, the Copper Shark is experiencing a population decline.

Copper Shark - Marine Dynamics


Scientific Name: Carcharhinus brachyurus

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Order: Carcharhiniformes

Family: Carcharinidae

Genus: Carcharinus

© Alina Pryazhkina

Copper Shark Fact File

? Size: A large species, individuals can reach 3.25m in length and weigh up to 305 kg

? Distribution: This coastal, offshore shark lives almost worldwide, in deep, warm temperate and subtropical waters. But while widespread, it has a patchy distribution across the North-eastern and South-western Atlantic, off southern Africa, in the North-western and eastern Pacific, and around Australia and New Zealand

? Diet: This species feeds on pelagic (open water) and bottom bony fishes, cephalopods, smaller sharks, and rays

? Behaviour: Copper Sharks form schools of hundreds of individuals but they are also often spotted alone. These fish are separated in space by both size and sex

? IUCN Status: Vulnerable. Like other shark species, this species is taken as target and bycatch of industrial, small-scale, and recreational fisheries. It also has a low biological productivity that lowers its resilience to fishing pressure