E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Lamna ditropis Hubbs & Follett, 1947
Salmon Shark
Family: Lamnidae
Photo of species

© Aaron Baldwin  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #14657)

Source: Distribution of Lamna ditropis as compiled by Aquamaps
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The salmon shark is a common coastal and oceanic species that is found globally in the eastern and western North Pacific, from Japan and the Koreas to the Bering Sea, southward to southern California and possibly Baja California, Mexico (Goldman et al. 2008, Marine Species Identification Portal 2010). It is a wide-ranging species found at depths of 0-152 m in boreal to cool temperate waters (Marine Species Identification Portal 2010). It occurs singly or in schools. Congregations of salmon sharks are reported to occur along Pacific salmon migration routes and in bays near salmon spawning grounds during July and August in Alaska, with dispersal in late summer (Hulbert et al. 2005).

The salmon shark is a warm-blooded (endothermic) relative of the great white shark. It has a heavy, spindle-shaped body, short snout, the first dorsal fin is large and triangular and dark, and the underside of the body is white with blotches (Marine Species Identification Portal 2010, FishBase 2010). Length at maturity is reported as 125 and 145 cm for males and between 160 and 180 cm for females (Goldman et al. 2008). This species is an opportunistic feeder, and diet includes fish species (salmon, rockfishes, sculpins, Spiny Dogfish), crabs, squid and shrimp (Goldman et al. 2008).

Strandings of the Salmon Shark are often reported in the summer along the west coast of Vancouver Island (BC Shark Reports and Sightings 2010).

Report shark sightings to 1 877 50-SHARK (1-877-507-4275). Visit the BC Shark and Skate Sightings blog.

View a video of the salmon shark.

Species Information

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Anal spines: 0. First dorsal fin uniformly dark, no light rear tip; ventral surface of body white with dusky blotches (Ref. 247).

Source: FishBase. FishBase. Compagno, L.J.V. 1984 . (Ref. 247)


Species Biology

A coastal-littoral and epipelagic shark that prefers boreal to cool temperate waters, from the surface to at least 152 m (Ref. 247). Common in continental offshore waters but range inshore to just off beaches (Ref. 247). Occurs singly or in schools or feeding aggregations of several individuals (Ref. 247). Feeds on fishes (Ref. 247). Ovoviviparous, embryos feeding on yolk sac and other ova produced by the mother (Ref. 50449). With up to 4 young in a litter (Ref. 247). Fast swimmer (Ref. 9988). Potentially dangerous but has never or seldom been implicated in human attacks (Ref. 247). Environment: pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); marine; depth range 0 - 650 m (Ref. 50550), usually 0 - 152 m (Ref. 55221). Climate: temperate; 66°N - 22°N, 120°E – 115°W.

Source: FishBase. FishBase. Compagno, L.J.V. 1984 . (Ref. 247)



North Pacific: Japan, Korea, and the Sea of Okhotsk to the Bering Sea and southward to southern California, USA (Ref. 247) and Baja California, Mexico (Ref. 9253).

Source: FishBase. FishBase. Compagno, L.J.V. 1984 . (Ref. 247)

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeSNRNo StatusNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

Species References

Goldman, K., Kohin, S., Cailliet, G.M. & Musick, J.A. 2008. Lamna ditropis. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. Downloaded on 27 October 2010.

Hulbert L. B., A. M. Aires-Da-Silva, V. F. Vallucci and J. S. Rice. 2005. Seasonal foraging movements and migratory patterns of female Lamna ditropis tagged in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Journal of Fish Biology 67 (2): 490-509.

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-04-22 9:10:58 AM]
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