Carcharhinus amboinensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Carcharhinidae

Scientific Name: Carcharhinus amboinensis (Müller & Henle, 1839)
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Pigeye Shark, Ambon sharpnose puffer, Estuary shark, Java Shark
French Requin balestrine
Spanish Tiburón baleta
Carcharias amboinensis Müller & Henle, 1839
Carcharias brachyrhynchos Bleeker, 1859
Carcharias henlei Bleeker, 1853
Triaenodon obtusus Day, 1878
Taxonomic Source(s): Müller, J. and Henle, F.G.J. 1839. Systematische Beschreibung der Plagiostomen. Plagiostomen, Berlin.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2005-10-11
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Cliff, G.
Reviewer(s): Musick, J.A. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)
This assessment is based on the information published in the 2005 shark status survey (Fowler et al. 2005).

The Pigeye Shark (Carcharhinus amboinensis) is sporadically distributed in the Indo-West Pacific, which may, in part, be due to an inability to distinguish it from other members of the genus Carcharhinus, especially the Bull Shark (C. leucas). Where fisheries data are available, this species constitutes a very small component of the catch, suggesting that it may not be common. Given its apparently sporadic distribution and low abundance, this shark may be unable to sustain heavy, localised fishing pressure. In the absence of further information, it is classified globally as Data Deficient. However, data are available from South Africa demonstrating a significant declining trend in catches, hence the Near Threatened assessment for the Southwest Indian Ocean Subpopulation.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Pigeye Shark is sporadically distributed in tropical and subtropical waters of the Indo-West Pacific Ocean, including the east coast of southern Africa, Madagascar, Gulf of Aden, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and northern Australia (Bass et al. 1973, Compagno 1984, Last and Stevens 1994). Compagno (1984) indicates several localities in the Indo-West Pacific where its suspected occurrence awaits confirmation. It also occurs in Nigeria (Compagno 1984). This species inhabits coastal waters, usually close to the bottom. It also occasionally enters brackish water (Last and Stevens 1994).
Countries occurrence:
Australia; India; Indonesia; Madagascar; Mozambique; Nigeria; Pakistan; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – eastern central; Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The following information, unless otherwise acknowledged, is based on studies by Stevens and McLoughlin (1991) in northern Australia and Cliff and Dudley (1991) in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Males mature at about 210 cm and females at 215-220 cm. The largest Australian individuals were a 231 cm male and a 242 cm female; in South Africa they were a 238 cm male and a 245 cm female. Fourmanoir (1961) recorded a 280 cm female from west Madagascar. Size at birth is 60-75 cm. In Australia the largest embryo was 59 cm and the smallest free-swimming individual was 66 cm. In South Africa the smallest free-swimming individual was 75 cm (Bass et al. 1973) and the largest embryo 79 cm. These findings imply that there may be a regional difference in size at birth. Litter sizes range from 3-13, averaging five in South Africa and nine in Australia. In South Africa gestation appears to be about 12 months, with mating in January-February and term embryos found in December-January. Five out of eight South African mature females were pregnant. Data from Australia indicated a nine-month gestation, with birth in November-December. In both studies males and females were sampled in equal numbers.

In South Africa, the Pigeye Shark feeds on teleosts (62% frequency of occurrence), elasmobranchs (45%), crustaceans (13%) and cephalopods (12%). Most of the prey were demersal, associated with soft bottoms; Australian sharks had similar diets. Tag returns from juveniles in Australia indicated that their movements are relatively localised (up to 60 km), while two larger sharks moved 240 and 1,080 km (Last and Stevens 1994). On the east coast of South Africa, two tagged sharks were recaptured after 76 and 320 days, 23 and 84 km from their respective tagging localities. Based on catches in the nets that protect the swimming beaches of KwaZulu-Natal, this species is often solitary and does not appear to swim in large packs. No information is available on age and growth.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is caught in small numbers for its meat and fins in the Northern Shark Fishery.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is caught in small numbers for its meat and fins in the Northern Shark Fishery which comprises longlining and pelagic and demersal gillnetting off northern Australia (Stevens and McLoughlin 1991, Last and Stevens 1994, McLoughlin et al. 1994). The Northern Pelagic Fish Stock Programme sampled in this fishing area with similar gear between January 1984-May 1985 and found that C. amboinensis comprised 0.5% of the pelagic gillnet and 3.5% of the longline catch of sharks (Bentley 1996).

Pigeye Shark constituted 0.5% (16 specimens) of the annual shark catch in the nets protecting swimming beaches in KwaZulu-Natal. The catch rate fluctuated at about 0.4 sharks per km of net per year between 1978-1990; data from the early years of this fishery (1952-1977) are not available. Richards Bay, the northernmost netted beach, where nets were introduced in 1981, had the highest catch of this species (annual average six, range 0-25). At this locality there was a significant decline in catch rates (Cliff and Dudley 1991), suggesting highly localised depletion. Immature sharks dominated the catches in all the above fisheries, and mature sharks may occur to the north of the netted region in this area.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Given the low incidence of this species in commercial catches, there are no known conservation and management initiatives.

Citation: Cliff, G. 2009. Carcharhinus amboinensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T39366A10217585. . Downloaded on 17 July 2018.
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