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Tiger Sharks are comprised of four separate species of fish, belonging to the family Odontaspididae. The tiger shark is comprised of two main genera: Carcharias and Odontaspis (or the Sand Tiger Shark and the Tiger Shark). Both species are considered among the most dangerous of all warm water fish in the shark family.

HISTORY
Fossil records show us that the first sharks lived some 300 million years ago. The tiger shark evolved in only the last 100 million to 70 million years. Sharks are some of the oldest living species on the earth, and have changed little during evolution of the species.

DESCRIPTION
Tiger sharks are large, powerful fish, measuring 12-18 feet in length. Large mouths set at the bottom of their heads, extend beyond the back of the eye area. There are five gill slits on the tiger shark, two dorsal fins and an upper precaudal pit (or indentation) located at the top of the body, just in front of the tail fin. Unlike other species of shark, the tiger shark lacks frontal spines.

The front teeth of the tiger shark are large and dagger like and include a single, central cusp and tiny cusplets. The teeth on both the bottom and top of the jaw gradually decrease in size from the front of the mouth to the back. The tiger shark's teeth often appear dagger-like.

The mature tiger shark's bulky, muscular body is gray in color and patterned. Dark spots and vertical designs appear in the young.

FEEDING PATTERNS
The tiger shark is an omnivorous feeder that eats fish, other sharks, sea turtles, mollusks, seabirds, carrion and garbage. Tiger sharks will attempt to eat coal, tin cans, bones and even clothing.

Even though tiger sharks have been implicated in rare attacks against people, they are generally considered nonaggressive. Most attacks are attributed to harrassment from swimmers, divers and fishermen. Tiger sharks should always be treated with caution, however, due to the nature of their size.

REPRODUCTION
A typical tiger shark litter contains two pups that measure 3 feet at birth. Born with fully developed teeth, pups begin feeding immediately and take to traveling in small family schools.

LIFESTYLE
Tiger sharks are found in all areas, including shallow waters to reef areas. The tiger shark lacks the swim bladder that allows other bony fish to hover motionless in the water, but is able to make itself buoyant be holding in it's stomach the air that it swallows from the surface.

Tiger sharks swim both alone and in large schools. Groups of sharks form for feeding activity, mating, courting and giving birth. Tiger sharks migrate toward the poles in the summer and in the direction of the equator in the fall and winter months.

POPULATION
The tiger shark is still actively hunted by man. Its meat is considered a delicacy in some countries and sold fresh, frozen or salted and dried. The liver of the tiger shark is used for its oil, the skin for leather, and the fins are often dried and processed for sale, as well. Because this shark is hunted commercially, there is no method for determining it's current population. Scientists theorize however, that the tiger shark has never been in danger of extinction and the species continues to thrive today.