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Ganges Shark - Glyphis gangeticus
Topic Started: Jan 9 2012, 01:19 PM (4,958 Views)
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Ganges Shark - Glyphis gangeticus

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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Carcharhinidae
Genus: Glyphis
Species: Glyphis gangeticus

Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

The Ganges shark (Glyphis gangeticus) is a rare species of requiem shark found in the Ganges River of India. It should not be confused with the Bull shark, which also inhabits the Ganges River and is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Ganges shark.

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In its external appearance, G. gangeticus is a typical requiem shark. It is stocky, with a broadly rounded snout and small eyes. The first dorsal fin is over the last third of the pectoral fins, with a free rear tip that is well in front of the pelvic fins. The second dorsal fin is much smaller than the first, but is still relatively large. The anal fin is slightly smaller than the second dorsal fin. The pectoral fins are broad and falcate. A longitudinal upper precaudal pit is present, but the interdorsal ridge is absent.

The shark tends to have a uniform gray to brownish coloration, with no discernible pattern or markings.

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The Ganges shark, as its name suggests, is largely restricted to the rivers of Eastern and North-Eastern India, particularly the Hooghly River of West Bengal, the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Mahanadi in Assam, Bihar and Orissa respectively. Bengalis call it Baagh Maach , which means tiger fish. It is typically found in the mid- to lower reaches of a river.


The Ganges shark is believed to be seriously endangered. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the Ganges shark is one of 20 sharks on the "Red List" of endangered shark species. Widespread and rampant overfishing has depleted the population of these sharks. Their oil, along with that of the Gangetic Dolphin is highly sought after.

Danger to humans

The shark may pose a threat to humans, but this has not been proven. Though some consider the Ganges shark to be "extremely dangerous" it has so far been impossible to separate its attacks from those of bull sharks. Most likely the shark is a specialized species that feeds primarily on small fish. Amongst the deadly sharks inhabiting the Ganges, the Bull shark represents a greater definite danger than this extremely endangered and elusive species.

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