Atlantic Sharpnose Shark
The Atlantic sharpnose shark is found from New Brunswick, Canada south along the Atlantic seaboard and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. This small shark is a year round resident in the coastal waters of South Carolina, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. It frequently is found in the surf zone, estuaries, and bays, where it prefers mud and sand bottoms during the summer. During the winter, individuals move to deeper waters.
Sharpnose sharks are smallish sharks, typically in the two to four foot range. The have the distinctive feature of two dorsal fins; one located above the pectoral rear tips, the second smaller fin is located above the anal fin. The fins may be black-edged, especially in younger fish. Their snouts are long with furrows in lips around the mouth corners. Their slender bodies are brownish to olive-gray or blue-gray on the top shading to a white underside. The teeth are triangular shaped with smooth edges and similar on both the upper and lower jaws.
Atlantic sharpnose sharks are viviparous, providing nutrition to the pups through a placental sac. They return inshore in the spring from wintering in deeper waters to give birth after a 10-11 month gestation period. Litters run from 1 to 7 pup. They then mate during late spring and early summer. The pups grow fast, reaching maturity after 3 to 4 years. It has been reported these sharks may live up to 12 years in the wild.
The diet of the Atlantic sharpnose consists of fish, worms, shrimp, crabs, and mollusks. Fish commonly eaten include menhaden, eels, silversides, wrasses, jacks, toadfish, and filefish.
Atlantic Sharpnose Shark in Florida
- The snout is flattened and long
- White trailing edge of pectoral
- Dorsal and caudal fins are black-edged, especially when young
- May have small whitish spots on sides
- Furrows in lips at the corners of the mouth
- Outer margin of teeth are notched
- Second dorsal fin originates over middle of anal fin
- Slender bodies are brown to olive-gray in color with a white underside
Inshore species, even found in surf. These sharks are also common in bays and estuaries. Adults occur offshore.
Mature adults between 2 and 2.75 feet long; 4-7 newborns range from 9 to 14 inches in length; adults feed on small fish and crustaceans.
This species is not currently eligible for a state record.Appearance: