Milk sharks (Rhizoprionodon acutus) are ground sharks in the Rhizoprionodon genus that can be found worldwide from West Africa to the southern parts of Japan. These sharks with a long, narrow snout and big eyes are grey-brown in colour that gives way to a creamy underbelly. Their caudal (tail) fin usually has a dark margin and white margins around their pectoral (side) fins. They prefer shallow water and feed on small pelagic and benthic bony fishes, cephalopods and other invertebrates in this area. While it provides some good noms, but with them straying no deeper than 200 metres, it does make them vulnerable to fisheries.
Milk sharks are viviparous. Females tend to give birth between two to eights pups after a gestation period of about 12 months. When born, the pups can measure at about 25 to 39 cm in length, maturing when they reach between 70 to 80 cm long. They average about 175 cm in length, and the maximum reported age of these sharks is eight years old.
Despite its widespread occurrence in fisheries, there is limited data available about how the fisheries impact their population. "In northern Australia, they are the most commonly taken in shark species in fish and prawn trawls. They also represent the 2% of the catch in gill nets and 6% of catch on longlines. Despite these catches, the Australian population does not appear to be affected," stated the IUCN website. Still, the IUCN has listed milk sharks as Least Concern (LC) because they are found worldwide.
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