The silky shark is an active predator that feeds primarily on pelagic bony fish such as mackerel, tuna and mullet. It also feeds on cephalopods, such as squid, which are found at greater depths, and has also been known to occasionally eat crustaceans such as crabs. In the Pacific Ocean, large numbers of silky sharks have been observed gathering around tightly packed shoals of small fish, known as ‘bait balls’ (3) (4).
The silky shark can be both a solitary and social species (2). Interestingly, it often shoals with individuals of its own size, although segregation by sex is not strongly shown (4).
Female silky sharks are viviparous, meaning the embryos develop inside the female without an egg case and are born live (5). The silky shark has a long gestation period of 12 months, and the typical litter size is between 2 and 14 young. The young silky sharks are typically born in late spring, around May or June, and each measures 70 to 85 centimetres at birth. Male silky sharks mature at 9 to 10 years old, while females mature at 12 years. The typical lifespan of the silky shark is believed to be about 23 years (4).