Let’s Talk About It…The Dusky Shark

Found in False Bay, amongst other temperate watered areas around the world, is The Dusky Shark.

A requiem shark, juvenile Dusky’s prefer shallow waters along the coast, while the adult Dusky can be found in deeper open seas; in depths of as much as 1300 feet or 400 meters!

Ask someone to draw a shark, if they have a little talent and don’t draw you a Great White or Hammerhead, I am pretty sure the drawing they will present to you, will look very much like the Dusky Shark.

Dusky shark drawing

This shark is fished for its fins, meat and oil, and though it has been taken off the endangered list in America, it remains on the vulnerable species list, and we should keep a very close eye on it, so that we don’t totally eradicate this beautiful creature!

Dusky’s get to approx. 4.2 meters (14 feet) in length.

A fully grown Dusky Shark can reach up to 14 feet or 4.2 meters in length and 340kg or around 760 pounds! The skin of this shark is covered in a type of palcoid scale, called a denticle, which is diamond shaped. They are a bronze, bluish grey colour with a white underbelly, and as juveniles, they have a little “dusk” sprinkled on the tips of most if not all their fins; hence the name “Dusky” shark. Once these juveniles grow into adults, this dusky hue is no longer visible.

Dusky Shark in open water

Dusky’s can live up to 50 years, if given the chance, though it takes them almost half that life time to become sexually mature, when they will carry between 6 and 12 pups for 16 to 22 months!

Dusky Shark females have their own sperm bank.

Interestingly enough, the female Dusky, will give birth in the same waters where they were born. Able to “store” sperm, these clever little ladies, produce pups every three years, and if the males are in low supply, they will simply make use of their very own, internal “sperm bank”. The female Dusky Sharks have to be careful where they give birth, as these little sharks are a favourite food of the Great White and Bull Shark, among others!

Diver kissing a Dusky Shark

This shark is not aggressive by nature, but will defend itself if threatened, as would we all. I obviously do not advocate kissing any wild creature, but this picture speaks a thousand words!

Come and visit us, and take the plunge into the oceans of False Bay, home of thousands upon thousands of Cape Fur Seals and the Flying Great White Shark!

Till we meet again, keep that toothy grin!

Grinning shark


By Nadine Bentley