Atlantic Sharpnose Shark

Rhizoprionodon terraenovae

Atlantic Sharpnose Shark
Doug Perrine/SeaPics.com

Overview — Common to coastal waters, the Atlantic sharpnose shark selects its water depth based on the seasons. During the summer months, it usually is found at depths of 42 feet or less.

When the upper layer chills over the winter, the sharks often retreat to 90 feet or more below the surface. This fish gets its name from its long, pointy snout. Like a perfectly designed surfboard tip, the nose matches the rest of the shark’s streamlined body.

Sightings of the 4-foot shark are common off the coasts of South Carolina, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, where it may be found throughout the entire year, as some surfers have discovered. That is because the shark sometimes wanders near surf zones close to sandy beaches.

So far, numbers of this shark have not gone into decline, and it is considered to be a species of “least concern” in conservation status rankings.

Feeding Habits — While its proximity to surfers would seem to suggest that it goes after human prey, the situation is actually reversed. Humans sometimes hunt the Atlantic sharpnose shark for consumption. The shark, on the other hand, consumes small prey, such as small bony fishes, abalone, conch, snails, slugs, limpets, cowries, crabs, segmented worms and shrimps.

Cool Fact — The snout of the Atlantic sharpnose shark is parabolic, meaning that points on it are equally distant from each other, exemplifying nature’s perfection of design.

Common Max Depth — 90 feet

MORE SHARKS: Blue Shark | Shortfin Mako Shark | Thresher Shark | ALL SHARKS

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