Salmon sharks can live between 20 and 30 years and reach a maximum of 4 m (12 ft) in length.  They are often mistaken for Great White sharks when found on the beach, but can be easily distinguished by the presence of a secondary caudal keel and their smooth, narrow, non-serrated, teeth.

 

 Salmon shark ID

Key identifying characteristics

 

1. Caudal keel (small horizontal fin in front of the tail fin)

2. Secondary keel present under caudal keel

3. Secondary dorsal fin directly above secondary ventral fin

4. Some individuals have dark splotches on white underside

5. Teeth narrow and non-serrated

 

 

Examples

 

A Salmon Shark stranded on the beach near Twin Rocks.  Photo credit: Dr. William Hanshumaker

A Salmon Shark stranded on the beach near Twin Rocks. Photo credit: Dr. William Hanshumaker

A stranded Salmon Shark with a piece of plastic protruding from its mouth.  Photo credit: Dr. William Hanshumaker

A stranded Salmon Shark with a piece of plastic protruding from its mouth. Photo credit: Dr. William Hanshumaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A dead female Salmon Shark on a dissecting table, being prepped for a necropsy.  Photo credit: Dr. William Hanshumaker

A dead female Salmon Shark on a dissecting table, being prepped for a necropsy. Photo credit: Dr. William Hanshumaker

A close up view of the caudal keel and secondary keel of a salmon shark.  Photo credit: Dr. William Hanshumaker

A close up view of the caudal keel and secondary keel of a salmon shark. Photo credit: Dr. William Hanshumaker