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NEFSC Apex Predators Program

spinner shark Spinner shark

SPINNER SHARK

Carcharhinus brevipinna

SIZE

To about 9 ft (2.7 m).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Anal, first and second dorsal, pectoral, and lower caudal fins black-tipped (look as if dipped in jet black paint) in specimens >2.6 ft (0.8 m)
  • First dorsal fin fairly small, originating over or just behind free tips of pectoral fins, apex rounded
  • Snout pointed, as long as or longer than width of mouth
  • Color gray or bronze above with light, conspicuous wedge-shaped band or Z-shaped line on sides beginning near pectoral fins, gradually widening rearward to pelvic fins to merge with white on belly
  • No interdorsal ridge

DISTRIBUTION

Virginia to Florida, including Gulf of Mexico; possibly into Caribbean.

HABITAT

Coastal and offshore. Common in shallow waters <100 ft (30 m).

SIMILAR SPECIES

Blacktip shark, most difficult to distinguish, has all black-tipped fins except for white anal fin. Finetooth shark has unmarked fins, shorter snout, longer gills. Sandbar shark, dusky shark, night shark, and silky shark have interdorsal ridges.

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)