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International Shark Attack File

ISAF Statistics on Attacking Species of Shark
Species of shark implicated in attacks around the world, 1580 - 2008
(In order by number of non air-sea disaster unprovoked attacks)


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

                                                         Non Air-Sea Disaster                           Air-Sea Disaster                 
Species Common
Name
Unprovoked
(fatal)
Provoked No Assignment Unprovoked
(fatal)
Provoked No Assignment Boat
Attack
Total
               
Carcharodon carcharias, white 244 (65) 71 36 0 0 1 99 451
Galeocerdo cuvier, tiger 88 (27) 25 33 0 0 1 11 158
Carcharhinus leucas, bull 82 (25) 27 6 0 0 0 5 120
Carcharhinus spp., requiem 39 (7) 15 4 0 0 0 1 59
Carcharias taurus, sand tiger 32 (3) 30 7 0 0 0 6 75
Carcharhinus limbatus, blacktip 28 (1) 13 0 0 0 0 0 41
Carcharhinus brachyurus, narrowtooth 17 (0) 11 1 0 0 0 4 33
Sphyrna spp., hammerhead 16 (0) 11 5 1(1) 0 1 7 41
Carcharhinus brevipinna, spinner 16 (0) 1 0 0 0 0 0 17
Prionace glauca, blue 13 (4) 21 0 1(0) 0 2 4 41
Carcharhinus melanopterus, blacktip reef 11 (0) 10 0 0 0 0 0 21
Ginglymostoma cirratum, nurse 10 (0) 36 4 0 0 0 0 50
Negaprion brevirostris, lemon 9 (0) 15 1 0 0 0 5 30
Orectolobus spp., wobbegong 9 (0) 7 5 0 0 0 0 21
Isurus oxyrinchus, shortfin mako 8 (1) 15 1 1(0) 0 0 20 45
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, grey reef 7 (0) 6 0 0 0 0 0 13
Carcharhinus longimanus, oceanic whitetip 5 (1) 3 0 0 0 0 1 9
Carcharhinus plumbeus, sandbar 5 (0) 2 0 0 0 0 0 7
Notorhynchus cepedianus, sevengill 5 (0) 3 1 0 0 0 1 10
Isurus spp., mako 5 (0) 2 2 0 0 0 3 12
Carcharhinus perezi, Caribbean reef 4 (0) 23 0 0 0 0 0 27
Carcharhinus obscurus, dusky 3 (1) 1 0 0 0 1 1 6
Carcharhinus falciformis, silky 3 (0) 2 1 0 0 0 0 6
Orectolobus macalatus, wobbegong 3 (0) 14 7 0 0 0 0 24
Triaenodon obesus, whitetip reef 3 (0) 2 0 0 0 0 0 5
Carcharhinus galapagensis, Galapagos 1 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Carcharias spp., 1 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Triakis semifasciata, leopard 1 (0) 0 1 0 0 0 0 2
Trygonorrhina fasciata southern fiddler 1 (0) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Lamna nasus, porbeagle 1 (0) 1 1 0 0 0 2 5
Rhinobatos spp., guitarfish 1 (0) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Galeorhinus galeus tope 1 (0) 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Carcharhinus albimarginatus, silvertip 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 4
Squalus acanthias, spiny dogfish 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Alopias spp., thresher 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 5
Carcharhinus altimus, bignose 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Mustelus canis, smooth dogfish 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Cetorhinus maximus, basking 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
Heterodontus francisci, horn 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Hexanchus griseus, sixgill 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Rhincodon typus, whale 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2
Somniosus microcephalus, Greenland 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Sphyrna mokarran, great
 hammerhead
0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Alopias vulpinus, thresher 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Sphyrna lewini, scalloped hammerhead 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Scyliorhinus canicula, small-spotted catshark 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Sutorectus tentaculatus, cobbler wobbegong 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Brachaelurus waddi, blind 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Mustelus asterias, starry smooth hound 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Hemipristis elongata snaggletooth shark 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Orectolobus ornatus ornate wobbegong 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Odontaspis spp., 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
 TOTALS 52 species 672 (137) 388 118 3 (1) 0 6 178 1,365


Last updated: May 20, 2009

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