Spinner Shark, Carcharhinus brevipinna (Valenciennes 1839)

Other Names: Eastern Sand Shark, Inkytail Shark, Inky-tail Shark, Longnose Grey Shark, Long-nose Grey Shark, Long-nosed Grey Shark, Smoothfang Shark, Smooth-fanged Shark

A sequence of images of a Spinner Shark, Carcharhinus brevipinna, at Tampa, Florida, January 2016. Source: Matthew Paulson / Flickr. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives


The Spinner Shark is characterised by the presence of black tips to all but the pelvic fins and noticeably small teeth in the upper jaw. It is named for its spectacular spinning leaps out of the water when chasing fish, although this behaviour has not been noted in Australia. It is an active schooling species that prefers shallow coastal waters.  

Video of Spinner Sharks leaping from the water in Florida.

Cite this page as:
Reardon, M.B. & Bray, D.J. 2017, Carcharhinus brevipinna in Fishes of Australia, accessed 07 Apr 2020,

Spinner Shark, Carcharhinus brevipinna (Valenciennes 1839)

More Info


Geographe Bay, south Western Australia, around the tropical north to southern New South Wales. Elsewhere the species is found worldwide in warm temperate, subtropical and tropical continental and insular shelf waters. Inhabits nearshore waters in bays, off beaches and river mouths, and is also pelagic in offshore waters. 


Interdorsal ridge absent; labial furrows conspicuous; upper teeth with very slender, erect cusps.


Feeds mostly on bony fishes; also consumes small rays and cephalopods.


Named for its unusual habit of leaping from the water, rotating as many as three times before falling back into the water, usually on its back.

Species Citation

Carcharias (Aprion) brevipinna Valenciennes, in Müller & Henle 1839, Systematische Beschreibung der Plagiostomen: 31, pl. 9. Type locality: mounted skin, Java.


Reardon, M.B. & Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Spinner Shark, Carcharhinus brevipinna (Valenciennes 1839)


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Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Burgess, G.H. 2009. Carcharhinus brevipinna. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. . Downloaded on 23 November 2014.

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Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp. 

Gray, J.E. 1851. List of the Specimens of Fish in the Collection of the British Museum. Chondropterygii. London : British Museum 160 pp., 2 pls. 

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. 

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37018023

Conservation:IUCN Near Threatened

Danger:Potentially dangerous

Depth:1-75 m


Habitat:Coastal, pelagic

Max Size:278 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map