This is the last in our What Sharks are in the South Carolina Waters Series. This blog is about Lemon Sharks. If you haven’t been shark fishing, you are in for an exciting fishing adventure.
The other sharks highlighted in this series are:
Another species of the shark Carcharhinidae family is the lemon shark which can grow up to 11 feet in length. They are often found in shallow subtropical waters and are known to inhabit and return to specific nursery sites for breeding.
The lemon shark’s name comes from the yellow or brown coloration of the back of its body. Thanks to this feature can camouflage perfectly with the bottom of the ocean in shallow waters because its color is similar to the sand of the sea floor.
This shark characterized by the yellowish color of its back disguises itself in the shallow waters of the ocean. It is a big and robust shark with a nozzle shorter than the width of its mouth. The lemon shark female is slightly bigger than the male.
The lemon shark has a flat head, two large dorsal fins of similar size, one convex pectoral fin and one pelvic fin with concave back edges. This shark has small eyes have a retina that has in the center a horizontal band useful to provide clear visibility under the water.
The largest populations of this species inhabit regions of the Atlantic Ocean. The largest populations of this species inhabit regions of the Atlantic Ocean, but smaller concentrations also dwell in the Pacific Ocean. In the Nearctic realm of the Atlantic, they are distributed from the coast of New Jersey in the United States to the south of Brazil, passing through the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. To the east, they reside around the African coasts of Senegal and Ivory Coast. In the eastern Pacific, they are located from Baja California in Mexico to Ecuador.
This shark likes to inhabit shallow coastal waters. They dwell areas with mangrove, coral reefs and can live in enclosed bays and even near the docks.
Even though the lemon shark is a saltwater species, it is still a possibility that it wanders near the mouths of rivers.
These sharks use electroreceptors at night to find their primary source of prey, which is bony fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. They also catch seabirds and even other small sharks.
Lemon sharks corral together to enjoy the many benefits of group living such as enhanced communication, courtship, predatory behavior, and protection.
Lemon sharks give birth to live young, and the females are polyandrous with multiple partners and have a biennial reproductive cycle. Lemon sharks are typically not a large threat to humans. This viviparous shark reaches sexual maturity at around 6.5 years old. Sharks usually mate during the spring and summer months. The lemon shark’s fertilization is internal, but the wounds on the female’s pectoral fins indicate that the male bites her to mate. The female stores the sperm of several males inside so there is sperm competition. This causes a single litter to have multiple paternity. Her gestation period lasts between 10 and 12 months. Each female gives birth to 4 to 17 offspring and then waits one year to having offspring again.
Its conservation status is “Near Threatened” on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In this regard, there are no specific plans or programs for its conservation, but it has some protection from the United Nations International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks.
Lemon sharks are potentially dangerous to humans; however the International Shark Attack Files (ISAF) has only reported ten unprovoked bites by Lemon sharks, all of these occurred in Florida and the Caribbean, none of the bites were fatal.
Around six years of age, lemon sharks reach sexual maturity and may live for up to 27 years.
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