Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameMackerel Sharks


The Odontaspididae or the Sandtiger sharks, are a family of sharks belonging to the Order Lamniformes. They are large, heavy-bodied sharks with pointed snouts, upper pre-caudal pits, but no lower pits. The caudal fin is asymmetrical without keels. Sandtiger sharks have a large second dorsal fin. Odontaspididae are typically brown with dark markings dorsally (juveniles). They have needle-like teeth; the teeth are long, narrow, and very sharp with smooth edges, with one and on occasion two smaller cusplets on either side. They can grow up to 10 feet long, and can weigh around 440 pounds. Their average lifespan is around 7 years. Some are known to live longer in captivity.

Sandtiger sharks tend to stay around shoreline habitats around the ocean floor or even the surf zone. They are often found in warm or temperate waters throughout the world’s oceans, except the eastern Pacific. They have also been found in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas at depths from 66-656 feet or even greater.

Sandtiger sharks are able to gulp air from above the surface and collect the air in the stomach. This enables them to become buoyant and approach their prey almost motionless. They primarily eat fish but will eat crustaceans and squid as well. They are typically nocturnal, actively hunting at night and inactive by day. They have been recorded hunting in groups on occasion.

Odontaspididae are presumably ovoviviparous, and only develop two embryos, one in each uterus. The largest and strongest embryos consume their siblings in the womb, which is called intrauterine cannibalism, before each surviving pup is born. These sharks have some of the lowest reproduction rates of all sharks.

Sandtiger sharks are not known to attack humans. If a person were to provoke one, it may retaliate defensively. They are generally not aggressive but will harass divers who are spearfishing or provoking them. In North Carolina, wreck divers regularly visit the World War II shipwrecks to dive with the Sand Tiger sharks that make the wrecks their home.

There are three species in two genera. There are several extinct species as well.



Genus Odontaspis Agassiz 1838

Subfamily Odontaspinae † Herman, 1975

Genus Striatolamia † Glikman, 1964

Genus Carcharoides † Ameghino, 1901

Genus Parodontaspis † White, 1931

Genus Priodontaspis † Ameghino, 1901

Genus Pseudoisurus † Glikman, 1957

Genus Synodontaspis † White, 1931

Subfamily Johnlonginae † Shimada, 2015

Genus Johnlongia

Genus Pseudomegachasma † Shimada, 2015