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The Copper Shark (Carcharhinus brachyurus) is a coastal species that can grow over three metres long. It is a "requiem shark" (family Carcharhinidae), which are large sharks like the tiger shark that are usually found in warm seas.
This one is also known by many other common names including narrow tooth shark, bronze shark, cocktail shark, bronze whaler, and New Zealand whaler.
It is found in large numbers in the north eastern and south western Atlantic, off southern Africa, in the north western and eastern Pacific, and around Australia and New Zealand, with scattered reports from equatorial regions.
Females are found apart from males for most of the year, and conduct seasonal migrations. A large species reaching 3.3m (11 ft) long, the copper shark is difficult to distinguish from other large requiem sharks. It is characterized by its narrow, hook-shaped upper teeth, lack of a prominent ridge between the dorsal fins, and plain bronze coloration.
Feeding mainly on squid, octopus and fish, the copper shark is a fast-swimming predator that often hunts in large groups, using their numbers to their advantage. Off South Africa, this species associates closely with the annual sardine run, involving millions of southern African pilchards.
Copper Sharks run close to shore all along the Southern African coast, more so in the warmer months) and are easily caught with fish and squid baits. They are incredibly strong and give the angler a fight to remember, often lasting over an hour until being brought onto the beach.
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