Skip to main content

Movements of tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) in coastal Hawaiian waters


Externally and internally implanted sonic transmitters were used to track the movements of eight tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) ranging between 200 and 417 cm total length (TL), captured by hook-and-line on the south coast of Oahu, Hawaii, between 1993 and 1997. Attachment of the transmitters was facilitated by the fact that captured sharks exhibited tonic immobility when restrained and inverted at the side of the tagging vessel. Three common themes emerged from the horizontal movements of the tracked sharks: (1) offshore movements away from the island, (2) extended periods of directed, “straight-line” swimming, (3) orientation to the Penguin Banks – a shallow bank located ≃35 km from the release point. In shallow water (<300 m) the sharks swam predominantly close to the bottom, in open water (>300 m) they swam within the mixed layer at depths of ∼80 m. One shark dove briefly to 335 m. The average estimated swimming speed of sharks traversing open water was 0.29 body length (BL) s−1. Two sharks were recaptured after termination of the tracks; one of these sharks was recaptured twice, with a total time at liberty of 377 d. The data suggest that Hawaiian tiger sharks move within large home ranges and that they can efficiently navigate between distant parts of their range, even when this requires crossing open ocean waters.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Author information



Additional information

Received: 26 July 1998 / Accepted: 28 April 1999

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Holland, K., Wetherbee, B., Lowe, C. et al. Movements of tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) in coastal Hawaiian waters. Marine Biology 134, 665–673 (1999).

Download citation


  • Body Length
  • Home Range
  • Mixed Layer
  • Open Water
  • Common Theme