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NEFSC Apex Predators Program

sharpnose shark Atlantic sharpnose shark

ATLANTIC SHARPNOSE SHARK

Rhizoprionodon terraenovae

SIZE

To about 4 ft (1.2 m).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Dorsal surfaces brownish-gray with scattered white spots in adults, white below; dorsal and caudal fins black-edged in juveniles
  • Second dorsal fin originating over or behind midpoint of anal fin
  • Mouth with long labial furrows around corners
  • No interdorsal ridge

DISTRIBUTION

New Jersey to Florida, including Gulf of Mexico, with strays north to New Brunswick, Canada.

HABITAT

Coastal; shallow water ranging to 919 ft (280 m), often close to surf zone; enclosed bays, sounds, harbors, marine to brackish estuaries.

SIMILAR SPECIES

Finetooth shark lacks white dorsal spots; has second dorsal fin originating between origin and midpoint of anal fins. Blacknose shark lacks white dorsal spots; has dusky blotch at tip of snout. Smooth dogfish lacks white dorsal spots; has nearly equally sized dorsal fins, spiracles. Spiny dogfish lacks anal fin; has white spots on body, spines at origins of both dorsal fins.

MORE INFORMATION

Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History


Guide to Sharks, Tunas, & Billfishes of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Text descriptions taken from:
Guide to Sharks, Tunas, & Billfishes
of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

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(File Modified Aug. 08 2017)