Rhizoprionodon terraenovae, or the Atlantic sharpnose shark, is a small species with maximum length being 1.1 m (3.6 ft). Males are mature between 0.80 - 0.85 m (2.62 – 2.8 ft) and females reach maturity at 0.85 – 0.90 m (2.8 – 2.95 ft).
The genus name Rhizoprionodon is Greek; rhiza meaning ‘root,’ prion meaning ‘saw’ and odous meaning ‘teeth.’ The species name, terraenovae, is Latin for ‘new land.’ Their common name comes from their long, pointed snout. They’re also called the ‘white shark.’
They are a number of grey shades, and have a light iridescence on their sides. Adults tend to have white spots on their sides, and white on the edges of their pectoral fins. Younger sharks have black on the edges of their pectoral fins.
The shark is commonly found in New Brunswick, Canada and in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the coast of Brazil. From that range, I’m sure you can guess that these are temperate/tropical animals. They tend to be in warm, shallow waters in the spring to mate and give birth, but as winter nears they move offshore. They are found anywhere from less than 10 m (32 ft) to 280 m (920 ft) deep. This shark can tolerate lower salinity levels, but tend not to travel into freshwater like the bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas). While swimming around in their habitats, they feed on small bony fish, worms, shrimp, crabs, molluscs and even smaller sharks (shark-ception). Predators of this shark include larger sharks, like tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier).
As mentioned earlier, females return to the shallows to give birth. Litter sizes vary between 4-7 pups, and they have a 10-11 month gestation period. They are viviparous; neat thing about this shark is that the ovaries of the females are on the left, and the males have overlapping siphon sacs.
This shark is used primarily as bait for other larger sharks, but their meat is also sold for consumption (we do not recommend eating shark meat). They are one of the most commonly caught small coastal sharks, and easily die on longlines. These sharks are also caught as bycatch. The Atlantic sharpnose shark is listed as Least Concern (LC) by the IUCN.
ever heard of this shark?
you may also like:
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
SEARCH BY CATEGORIES