Borneo Shark

Borneo Shark

The Borneo Shark is a species of requiem sharkfamily Carcharhinidae. The International Union for Conservation of Nature last assessed this species as Endangered, at which time it had not been seen since 1937. While an extant population has since been found, the Borneo shark continues to merit conservation concern given its highly limited range within heavily fished waters.


The Borneo shark is slim-bodied, with a long, pointed snout and oblique, slit-like nostrils preceded by narrow, nipple-shaped flaps of skin. The eyes are rather large and circular, and equipped with nictitating membranes. The corners of the sizable mouth bear short, indistinct furrows, and immediately above are a series of enlarged pores that are unique within the genus. There are 25–26 upper and 23–25 lower tooth rows. The upper teeth have a single, narrow, oblique cusp with strongly serrated edges, and large cusplets on the trailing side. The lower teeth are similar, but tend to be more slender and finely serrated. The five pairs of gill slits are short.

The pectoral fins are short, pointed, and falcate (sickle-shaped), while the pelvic fins are small and triangular with a nearly straight trailing margin. The first dorsal fin is fairly large and triangular, with a blunt apex sloping down to a sinuous trailing margin; its origin lies over the free rear tips of the pectoral fins. The second dorsal fin is small and low, and originates over the middle of the anal fin base. There is no ridge between the dorsal fins. The caudal peduncle bears a deep, crescent-shaped pit at the origin of the upper caudal fin lobe. The asymmetrical caudal fin has a well-developed lower lobe and a longer, narrow upper lobe with a strong ventral notch near the tip. The dermal denticles are small and overlapping, each with three horizontal ridges leading to marginal teeth. This species is slate-gray above, darkening towards the tips of the dorsal fins and upper caudal fin lobe; some specimens have irregular rows of small, white blotches, which may be an artifact of handling. The underside is white, which extends onto the flanks as a vague pale band. There are faint, lighter edges on the pectoral, pelvic, and anal fin trailing margins.


All recent specimens of the Borneo shark have been collected solely from fishery landing sites at Mukah in Sarawak, despite thorough surveys across the rest of Borneo (including at the locality of the type specimen). Thus, its range may now be restricted to shallow, inshore waters in northwestern Borneo.


Bony fishes are probably the main food of the Borneo shark.