Ganges shark

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Insects, Reptiles and Fish

iGanges shark
Conservation status

Critically endangered (CR)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Carcharhinidae
Genus: Glyphis
Species: G. gangeticus
Binomial name
Glyphis gangeticus
( Müller & Henle, 1839)

The Ganges shark, Glyphis gangeticus, is a rare species of fresh water shark that dwells in the Ganges River. It should not be confused with the Bull shark, which also inhabits the Ganges River and is sometimes referred to as the Ganges shark.


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.


The Ganges shark, as its name suggests, is largely restricted to the rivers of the Indo-Western Pacific, particularly the Hooghly River of West Bengal, India. Individuals have also been sighted in waters in the vicinity of Karachi, Pakistan.


The shark, though poorly documented, is known to inhabit only freshwater, inshore marine and estuarine systems. Its feeding habits are unknown. Its maximum size is probably in the area of 204 cm. It is probably viviparous, measuring 55 to 60 cm at birth.

A related species is the speartooth shark, Glyphis glyphis, although its distribution is different.


The Ganges shark is believed to be seriously endangered.

Danger to humans

The shark appears to 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.(Allen, 107) Most likely the shark is a specialized species that feeds primarily on small fish. Amongst deadly sharks habitating the Ganges, the bull shark represents a greater definite danger than this extremely endangered and elusive species. 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. (from the San Diego Union-Tribune, August 31, 2006, p. E8).

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