Sand Tiger

Smalltooth sand tiger

The smalltooth sand tiger, Odontaspis ferox, is a sand tiger of the family Odontaspididae, found on the continental shelf in all tropical and subtropical oceans, at depths between 10 and 500 m. Its length is up to 3.6 m.

The smalltooth sand tiger has a short, pointed snout, small eyes, protruding spike-like teeth, and small, equal-sized dorsal and anal fins. The first dorsal fin is closer to the pectoral than to the pelvic fins.

It is found on or near the bottom of the continental and insular shelves and upper slopes, but sometimes also in shallow water. It feeds on small bony fishes, squids, and crustaceans. It uses its long body cavity and large, oily liver to regulate its buoyancy.

Reproduction is ovoviviparous, the embryos feeding on their yolk sac, and other ova produced by the mother, so that there is usually only two to a litter. The flesh is utilized for human consumption, the liver having a high squalene content. Coloration is grey above, paler below, and there may be red spots on sides.


  • Tony Ayling & Geoffrey Cox, Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand, (William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand 1982) ISBN 0-00-216987-8

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