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Need some help with a shark ID...

Discussion in 'SoCal' started by yle, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    1,439
    1,220
    I wish I had a picture, but I don't. My sincere apologies.

    We dove at Crescent Bay this morning. Visibility was pretty typical... maybe 15 feet at best. While in a fairly open part of the shallow area of the reef, depth of around 25 feet, a 6-foot shark zoomed out of the gloom, chasing a few fish for lunch. He was coming right toward me, must have seen me when he got about 10 feet from me, did a quick 120 degree turn and zoomed off. The entire encounter lasted maybe five seconds.

    I've been diving CB for years and this was the biggest shark (except one angel shark mostly buried in the sand) I've ever seen there. I've seen plenty of leopard and horn sharks. This guy was different.

    My first impression was a silky shark... it was slim, streamlined, all silvery/white with silver/white eyes, and small curved dorsal fin. I looked up pics later and it seemed to match. But I was curious... would this make sense, a silky in shallow 58 degree water, off So Cal? I've never seen a silky face to face (before today...), so I didn't know if maybe another type of shark would be a better candidate.

    Thanks, in advance, for your advice!
     
  2. napDiver

    napDiver ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: California
    247
    98
    I heard there were spottings of a 7gill recently at crescent. But they don't look anything like a silky shark. They have a prehistoric face, spotted, they do get big and have a long ass tail.

    I know toupe sharks are found down in SD, they have a similar look to a silky shark. People say they have seen thresher sharks at crescent, but I have never. Threshers have a very long whip like tail.

    How deep were you and do you know roughly where you were when you spotted it?

    There may be a couple more sharks that might be a possibility. Too bad you dont have a video, next time!
     
  3. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    1,439
    1,220
    Definitely not a 7-gill... and I know what you mean about the "prehistoric face". I've seen pics of 7-gills, never seen one face to face.

    This guy today was definitely, sleek, shiny and the opposite of prehistoric looking.

    Thanks! I'll look them up. So far the fish ID comparison has me 90% on silky, but if toupe sharks look similar... could be a contender.

    Yeah, definitely not a thresher. The tail on a thresher is pretty distinctive. And still... only seen pics, never face to face.

    In the reef, relatively flat open area, on the west side of the bay, depth of about 25 feet

    Tell me about it. I usually have my gopro strapped to the back of my hand, ready to go for moments just like this. My mom was with me, usually brings her camera also... but didn't this time. Before we got in the water I told her that leaving our cameras behind was guaranteed to get us a shark or whale sighting. (A bit too shallow for whales though.)

    Thanks for your input!
     
  4. lowviz

    lowviz Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Delaware or the New Jersey Turnpike
    7,300
    4,217
    Maybe an errant bignose? They show up in all sorts of unusual places...

    Bignose Shark
     
  5. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
    10,344
    7,203
    That Bignose looks a lot like a Mako!
    440px-Carcharhinus_altimus_nefsc.jpg
     
    lowviz likes this.
  6. napDiver

    napDiver ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: California
    247
    98
    So True!
     
  7. Jake 10

    Jake 10 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Herndon, VA
    160
    70
    Maybe a Grey Reef Shark, they have a similarity with Silky Sharks ? Although they are more of the Indo-Pacific area than CA area. Just throwing out other options.. !
    260px-Grey_reef_shark2.jpg
     
  8. lowviz

    lowviz Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Delaware or the New Jersey Turnpike
    7,300
    4,217
    I think that the internet got that pic wrong. A shortfin Mako should have a caudal keel. No evidence of a caudal keel on that pic or the one that visited me: The Campana lab » Fins

    I am no shark expert. The best I can do is to use the Peterson Field Guide for a start and then try to remove the chaff that the internet offers.

    Common themes copied from the internet:

    "Bignose: similar to silky and dusky but has first dorsal fin originating over pectoral fin insertion; similar to sandbar but has longer snout; similar to blacktip and bull but has interdorsal ridge …//….

    Shortfin mako: similar to longfin mako but the underside of snout and mouth are white; similar to blue shark but has caudal keel."
     
    yle likes this.
  9. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    8,635
    3,139
    I have seen a silky in very shallow water(~12m) in Cocos Island.
     
    yle likes this.

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