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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 - 2011
(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

Species Common
Name
Non-fatal
Unprovoked
Fatal
Unprovoked
Provoked Air/Sea Disaster Boat Scavenge Unassigned Total
               
Carcharodon carcharias, white 194 69 70 0 60 3 35 431
Galeocerdo cuvier, tiger 66 29 31 1 4 8 30 169
Carcharhinus leucas, bull 65 26 34 0 5 1 8 139
Carcharias taurus, sand tiger 28 1 42 0 1 0 5 77
Carcharhinus spp., requiem 33 7 14 0 0 0 3 57
Ginglymostoma cirratum, nurse 10 0 39 0 0 0 5 54
Carcharhinus limbatus, blacktip 27 1 14 1 0 0 2 45
Sphyrna spp., hammerhead 17 0 11 1 2 1 5 37
Carcharhinus brachyurus, narrowtooth 18 1 13 0 2 0 2 36
Prionace glauca, blue 8 4 21 0 0 1 0 34
Isurus oxyrinchus, shortfin mako 8 2 12 1 9 0 1 33
Negaprion brevirostris, lemon 10 0 16 0 0 0 3 29
Carcharhinus perezi, Caribbean reef 4 0 23 0 0 0 0 27
Orectolobus spp., wobbegong 11 0 10 0 0 0 4 25
Orectolobus macalatus, spotted wobbegong 4 0 15 0 0 0 3 22
Carcharhinus melanopterus, blacktip reef 11 0 10 0 0 0 0 21
Carcharhinus brevipinna, spinner 16 0 1 0 0 0 0 17
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, grey reef 7 0 9 0 0 0 0 16
Carcharhinus longimanus, oceanic whitetip 7 3 2 0 1 0 1 14
Isurus spp., mako 6 0 2 0 2 0 1 11
Notorhynchus cepedianus, sevengill 5 0 3 0 1 0 0 9
Carcharhinus plumbeus, sandbar 5 0 3 0 0 0 0 8
Triaenodon obesus, whitetip reef 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 7
Carcharhinus falciformis, silky 3 0 2 0 0 0 1 6
Carcharhinus obscurus, dusky 1 1 2 1 0 1 0 6
Lamna nasus, porbeagle 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 5
Carcharhinus albimarginatus, silvertip 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 4
Odontaspis spp., sand shark 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 3
Triakis semifasciata, leopard 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
Scyliorhinus canicula, small-spotted catshark 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2
Alopias vulpinus, thresher 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2
Carcharhinus galapagensis, Galapagos 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2
Isistius sp., cookiecutter shark 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2
Negaprion sp., lemon shark 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2
Alopias spp., thresher 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2
Rhincodon typus, whale 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Squatina sp., angelshark 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Odonstaspis ferox, small-toothed sand tiger 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Squatina squatina, angelshark 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Trygonorrhina fasciata southern fiddler 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Rhinobatos spp., guitarfish 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Galeorhinus galeus tope 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Squalus acanthias, spiny dogfish 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Carcharhinus altimus, bignose 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Mustelus canis, smooth dogfish 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Heterodontus francisci, horn 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Hexanchus griseus, sixgill 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Sphyrna mokarran, great
 hammerhead
0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Sphyrna lewini, scalloped hammerhead 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Sutorectus tentaculatus, cobbler wobbegong 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Brachaelurus waddi, blind 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Mustelus asterias, starry smooth hound 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
Hemipristis elongata snaggletooth shark 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Carcharias spp., lamniform 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
 TOTALS 54 species 578 145 428 5 89 16 114 1,375


Last updated: January 30, 2012

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