The Spadenose Shark is a species of requiem shark, family Carcharhinidae, and the only member of its genus. The spadenose shark is harmless to humans and is valued by artisanal and commercial fishers for its meat and fins. Its abundance ensures it forms a significant component of many fisheries in South and Southeast Asia. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed this species as Near Threatened.
A small, stocky species, the spadenose shark has a broad head with a distinctive highly flattened, trowel-shaped snout. The eyes and nares are small. The corners of the mouth are well behind the eyes and have poorly developed furrows at the corners. There are 25–33 tooth rows in the upper jaw and 24–34 tooth rows in the lower jaw; each tooth has a single slender, blade-like, oblique cusp without serrations. The first dorsal fin is positioned closer to the pelvic than the pectoral fins, which are very short and broad. The second dorsal fin is much smaller than the anal fin. There is no ridge between the dorsal fins. The back is bronze-gray in color, and the belly is white. The fins are plain but may be darker than the body. The maximum known length is 74 cm (29 in), though there are unsubstantiated reports of individuals reaching 1.2 m (3.9 ft).
It is typically found close to the coast in water 10–13 m (33–43 ft) deep, often close to rocky bottoms. This shark is frequently reported from the lower reaches of rivers in Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo, though whether this species is capable of tolerating fresh water like the bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) is unclear due to a lack of salinity data from these areas.
It feeds mainly on small bony fishes, including anchovies, codlets, burrowing gobies, and Bombay ducks. Shrimp, crabs, cuttlefish, and stomatopods are also sometimes taken.