Tiger Shark

Common Name: Tiger Shark

Scientific Name: Galeocerdo cuvier


To about 18 ft (5.5 m).

Distingushing Characteristics

  • Dorsal surfaces of juveniles covered with dark blotches on bluish- or greenish-gray to black background; blotches fuse to form tigerlike vertical bars or stripes as shark grows; coloration fades to gray and stripes become less distinct in adults.
  • Snout blunt and wide, much shorter than width of mouth; long labial furrows around corners of mouth reaching eyes.
  • Teeth serrated with deep notch on outer margins, similar in both jaws.
  • Interdorsal ridge low.


Off the Atlantic coast of the United States tiger sharks are found from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Off the Pacific coast tiger sharks are found from southern California southward. In the western central Pacific, tiger sharks are found in the Hawaiian, Solomon, and Marshall Islands.


Tiger Shark inhabits coastal waters close to shore to outer continental shelf and offshore including oceanic island groups.

Life history

This is one of the larger shark species; the largest individuals are believed to exceed 18 feet and 2,000 lb. Adults mature at approximately 9 feet and litters are large, often comprising from 35 to 55 pups.

Similar Species

Characteristic teeth and markings of tiger shark distinguish this species from other Atlantic sharks.