Bronze whaler

From Openwaterpedia

noun - Bronze whaler or the copper shark or narrowtooth shark is a species of requiem shark and the only member of its genus found mostly at temperate latitudes. It is distributed in a number of separate populations in the northeastern and southwestern Atlantic, off southern Africa, in the northwestern and eastern Pacific, and around Australia and New Zealand, with scattered reports from equatorial regions.

The species can be found from brackish rivers and estuaries, to shallow bays and harbors, to offshore waters 100 m (330 ft) deep or more. Females are found apart from males for most of the year, and conduct seasonal migrations. A large species reaching 3.3 m (11 ft) long, the copper shark is difficult to distinguish from other large requiem sharks. It is characterized by its narrow, hook-shaped upper teeth, lack of a prominent ridge between the dorsal fins, and plain bronze coloration.

Feeding mainly on cephalopods, bony fishes, and other cartilaginous fishes, the copper shark is a fast-swimming predator that often hunts in large groups, utilizing their numbers to their advantage. Off South Africa, this species associates closely with the annual sardine run, involving millions of southern African pilchard.

It is an extremely slow-growing apex predator, with males and females not reaching maturity until 13–19 and 19–20 years of age respectively.

While not noted as being especially dangerous to humans, the copper shark has been responsible for a number of non-fatal attacks, particularly on spear fishers and swimmers. This species is valued by commercial and recreational fisheries throughout its range, and utilized as food. It is very susceptible to population depletion due to its low growth and reproductive rates, and its numbers are believed to have declined in some areas. As a result, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed it as Near Threatened.

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