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International Shark Attack File

ISAF Statistics on Attacking Species of Shark
Species of shark implicated in confirmed unprovoked attacks around the world, 1580 - 2013


USE THIS TABLE WITH CAUTION! Positive identification of attacking sharks is very difficult since victims rarely make adequate observations of the attacker during the "heat" of the interaction. Tooth remains are seldom found in wounds and diagnostic characters for many requiem sharks (family Carcharhinidae) are difficult to discern even by trained professionals. That said, this list must be used with caution because attacks involving easily identified species, such as white, tiger, sandtiger, hammerhead and nurse sharks, nearly always identify the attacking species, while cases involving difficult to identify species, such as requiem sharks of the genus Carcharhinus, seldom correctly identify the attacker. Thus the list is skewed to readily identified species. A number of requiem sharks in the genus Carcharhinus likely are involved in many more attacks than they are credited in this list and, if the list could reflect that reality, Carcharhinus bites would push such species as the sandtiger, hammerhead and nurse sharks towards the bottom of the list. Nonetheless, the white, tiger and bull sharks are the "Big Three" in the shark attack world because they are large species that are capable of inflicting serious injuries to a victim, are commonly found in areas where humans enter the water, and have teeth designed to shear rather than hold. Realistically, almost any shark in the right size range, roughly six feet (1.8 meters) or greater, is a potential threat to humans because, even if a bite is not intended as a directed feeding attempt on a human, the power of the jaw and tooth morphology can lead to injury. --- George H. Burgess, ISAF

Species Common
Name
Non-fatal
Unprovoked
Fatal
Unprovoked
Total
         
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, grey reef 7 1 8
Carcharhinus brachyurus, bronze whaler 19 1 20
Carcharhinus brevipinna, spinner 16 0 16
Carcharhinus falciformis, silky 3 0 3
Carcharhinus galapagensis, Galapagos 0 1 1
Carcharhinus leucas, bull 67 26 93
Carcharhinus limbatus, blacktip 28 0 28
Carcharhinus longimanus, oceanic whitetip 7 3 10
Carcharhinus melanopterus, blacktip reef 11 0 11
Carcharhinus obscurus, dusky 1 1 2
Carcharhinus perezi, Caribbean reef 4 0 4
Carcharhinus plumbeus, sandbar 5 0 5
Carcharhinus spp., requiem 39 7 46
Carcharias taurus, sand tiger 29 0 29
Carcharias spp., lamniform 0 2 2
Carcharodon carcharias, white 201 78 279
Galeocerdo cuvier, tiger 73 28 101
Galeorhinus galeus tope 1 0 1
Ginglymostoma cirratum, nurse 10 0 10
Heterodontis portusjacksoni, port jackson 1 0 1
Isistius brasiliensis, cookiecutter 1 0 1
Isurus oxyrinchus, shortfin mako 9 1 10
Isurus spp., mako 8 0 8
Lamna nasus, porbeagle 2 0 2
Negaprion brevirostris, lemon 10 0 10
Notorhynchus cepedianus, sevengill 5 0 5
Orectolobus macalatus, spotted wobbegong 4 0 4
Orectolobus spp., wobbegong 19 0 19
Prionace glauca blue 9 4 13
Rhinobatos spp., guitarfish 1 0 1
Sphyrna spp., hammerhead 17 0 17
Triaenodon obesus, whitetip reef 5 0 5
Triakis semifasciata, leopard 1 0 1
Trygonorrhina fasciata southern fiddler 1 0 1
 TOTALS 34+ species 614 153 767


Last updated: March 19, 2014

© International Shark Attack File
Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida