Silky Sharks

Photo courtesy from shark-references.com

Silky Sharks (Carcharhinus falciformis)

Max. Length: 350 centimeters
Length at 1st Maturity: 146.3 centimeters
Weight: 346 kilograms
a value: 0.04640
b value: 2.750
Depth Range: 0 – 4,000 meters (13,200 feet)
Frequency: Near threatened due to high demand in shark’s fin

Photo courtesy from mpo.photoshelter.com

Although silky sharks are considered one of the deep thriving shark species in Cocos Island where they can dive up to 4,000 meters deep, they are typically found at depths ranging from 1 to 100 meters.

In Cocos island, Silky sharks thrive in the outer ledges of the reef where you can usually see them in the deep blue waters. You can easily identify silky sharks through their large but slim body that has a long, flat and rounded snout. They have small jaws, large eyes and their fins have no distinct markings. But what you will immediately notice if you see silky sharks during your underwater adventures in Cocos island is that they have a small dorsal fin with a curve at the rear margin and their pectoral fins are sickle shaped.

But if you can have this rare opportunity to touch a silky shark, which we highly suggest not to do it, you can feel that their skin is relatively soft rather than rough as compared to other shark species. Some lucky divers who were able to touch their skin, said that the feeling was like touching a fabric of silk, which was then, the primary basis for naming this species.

Opportunistic and Potentially Dangerous

Photo courtesy from Dive The World

If only silky sharks are spoon fed with their favorite meal such as fish and squid, then the tendency is they would eat round the clock. But this is not the case in their real oceanic environment. While food is abundant, they need to search and hunt for it so that their stomachs will be filled. This hunting process has allowed them to perfect the swift hunting technique where they can easily snatch a meal.

If you encounter a patrolling silky shark in Cocos Island, the tendency is they will become curious to our presence and may come close to you. Their approach may come in a swift motion and this is where the danger comes in. Although attacks by silky sharks around the world are very minimal, they could accidentally hit you during their swift approach. Some have reported that they have been bumped by a silky shark. So the best thing to do is to stay close to the reef when there is a silky shark patrolling the waters. Another thing, dangling equipment or shiny objects such as jewelries can attract the attention of silky sharks where they can misrepresent it for fish scales. So please, do not wear any jewelries during diving because they are not a fashion statement underwater.

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Reference

Fishbase: www.fishbase.org

IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species: www.iucnredlist.org

Marine Bio: www.marinebio.org

Video courtesy from Ian Dunn

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