"Oh crap, I have something on my nose? Thanks for telling me, buddy."
Carcharhinus acronotus, or the blacknose shark, is a relatively slender and small shark with a long snout and large eyes.
It gets its name from, you guessed it, a black spot under its little snout.
These animals are segregated by size and sex, with juveniles found in shallow waters (probably for protection) and adults found in deeper waters of 9+ meters (30+ ft). They are known to form schools and can be found feasting on mullet and anchovies. As fast swimmers, they also feed on pinfish, croakers, porgies, spiny boxfishes and porcupine fish. Blackness sharks are also known to snack on the occasional octopus. Their upper teeth are narrow and triangular, allowing for the spearing of the slippery fish. The lower teeth are serrated and broad.
These sharks are pretty average sized, usually only getting up to 1.25 m (4.1 ft), with a maximum size of 1.4 m (4.6 ft). Their maximum age depends on their location and sex; females can live between 10-16 years, while males only have 4-9 years. Both sexes mature at about 2 years of age.
Interestingly enough, its caudal peduncle has no keel. "What a caudal peduncle?" you may ask. Good question! Lets look at this fish (below) to get an idea of what the caudal peduncle is:
The section between the two hashed lines is the caudal peduncle. Some types of fast-swimming fish have a caudal keel just in front of the tail fin. See how a part of the fish dips down before reaching the tail (caudal) fin? That's the keel. Now look at the picture of the blacknose shark. That's right — no dip, aka no keel!
Blacknose sharks typically mate in May and June, and once pregnant, female sharks have a gestation period of 11 months. It seems that these sharks have two different reproduction cycles in the Northwestern Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico; observations show female blacknose sharks in the Gulf of Mexico reproduce annually, while those in the Atlantic appear to reproduce biennially (once every 2 years). More research needs to be done on this. Litter sizes range from 3-6, but usually yield four pups. Bulls Bay, South Carolina (in the USA) is a known nursery area.
Blacknose sharks are only found in coastal, tropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean including the Caribbean Sea, Bahamas, and Gulf of Mexico.
Like many sharks, they are preyed upon by larger sharks. Dusky sharks (Carcharhinus obscurus) in particular like to have blacknose sharks for a snack.
They are fished recreationally as they put up a good fight. Commercially, they are known to be dried, salted and smoked. They pose little threat to humans, and have never been recorded in an "attack," however divers do report blacknose sharks displaying threatening poses (hunched back with head raised and caudal lowered). If this does happen, leave the water immediately by swimming away from the animal in smooth strokes, eyes always on the shark.
The blacknose shark is currently listed as Near Threatened (NT) by the IUCN.
did you know about the blacknose shark?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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