Sharks

Atlantic Sharpnose Shark

sketch

Family Carcharhinidae, REQUIEM SHARKS
Rhizoprionodon terraenovae


Description: long and flattened snout; white trailing edge of pectoral; black-edged dorsal and caudal fins, especially when young; may have small whitish spots on sides; furrows in lips at the corners of the mouth; outer margin of teeth notched; second dorsal fin originates over middle of anal fin; brown to olive-gray in color with white underside; slender body.

Similar Fish: other carcharhinids.

Where found: INSHORE species, even found in surf; also common in bays and estuaries; adults occur OFFSHORE. East of Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne Beach.

Size: small species, 2 to 4 feet.

*Florida Record: n/a

Remarks: 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.

Bonnethead Shark

sketch

Family Sphyrnidae, HAMMERHEAD SHARKS
Sphyrna tiburo


Description: broadly widened head in the shape of a shovel; only slight indentation of anal fin; front of head not notched at midline; gray or grayish-brown in color.

Similar Fish: other hammerhead sharks.

Where found: INSHORE species found in bays and estuaries. Around Port Canaveral, Cape Canaveral and Cocoa beach shore lines

Size: commonly 3 to 4 feet.

*Florida Record: n/a

Remarks: matures at about 3 feet in length and bears 6 to 12 young at one time; feeds chiefly on crabs and other crustaceans.

Sandbar Shark

sketch

Family Carcharhinidae, REQUIEM SHARKS
Carcharhinus plumbeus


Description: snout broadly rounded and short; first dorsal fin triangular and very high; poorly developed dermal ridge between dorsal fins; brown or gray in color with white underside; upper and lower teeth finely serrated.

Similar Fish: dusky shark, Carcharhinus obscurus; bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas.

Where found: NEARSHORE fish typically found at depths ranging from 60 to 200 feet. East of Cape Canaveral

Size: common to 6 feet.

*Florida Record: n/a

Remarks: both predator and scavanger; feeding chiefly near the bottom on fish and shellfish; migrates long distances; matures at about 6 feet in length.

Scalloped Hammerhead

sketch

Family Sphyrnidae, HAMMERHEAD SHARKS
Sphyrna tiburo


Description: fifth gill slit shorter than 4 preceeding ones and located posterior to pectoral fin base; flattened head extending to hammer-like lobes on each side; distinct indentation of the front margin of the head at its midpoint; second dorsal fin longer than tail; gray-brown to olive in color with white underbelly; teeth smooth-edged; pectoral fins tipped with black on the undersurface; tips of first and second dorsal lobes and caudal also may have dusky tips; pelvic fin with nearly straight hind margin.

Similar Fish: other hammerhead sharks.

Where found: both OFFSHORE and INSHORE. East of Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach

Size: common to 6 feet and can reach 14 feet.

*Florida Record: n/a

Remarks: predatory fish, feeding mainly on fish, squid, and stingrays; male matures at about 6 feet in length.

Shortfin Mako

sketch

Family Lamnidae, MACKEREL SHARKS
Isurus oxyrinchus


Description: lunate tail with similarily sized lobes; lateral keel at the base of the tail; deep blue back and white underside; underside of sharply pointed snout white; origin of first dorsal entirely behind base of pectoral fins; second dorsal fin slightly in front of anal fin; slender, recurved teeth with smooth edge.

Similar Fish: white shark, Carcharoden carcharias; longfin mako, Isurus paucus.

Where found: OFFSHORE fish often seen near the surface. East of Cape Canaveral

Size: commonly 6 to 8 feet (200 to 300 pounds).

*Florida Record: 911 lbs, 12 ozs.

Remarks: active, strong swimming fish known for leaping out of the water when hooked; feeds on mackerel, tuna, sardines, and some much larger fish.