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Lemon Shark

Threat Level:  medium




  • Lemon SHARK

Scientific Name: Negaprion Brevirostris

Family Name: Carcharhinidae


  • General Information: The lemon shark is a large, stout-bodied reef shark with a pale yellow-brown body with no obvious markings and a broad, flattened head. It is easily identified by its large dorsal fins, which are about equal size. The anal fin, immediately below the second dorsal fin, is also large. The pectoral fins are long and curve back on the trailing edge. There is no lateral keel, and unlike many requiem sharks, it has no interdorsal ridge.


  • Size: Lemon sharks are one of the larger species of sharks and can average 8 to 10 feet long. One of the largest recorded catch was 12 feet long. Lemon shark pups are born between 24 to 26 inches. Adults can weigh from 100 to 200 pounds.


  • Teeth: The lemon sharks upper teeth are narrow and broad with triangular smoothed-edged cusps and finely serrated bases. The lower teeth are narrow and triangular with smooth-edged cusps. The teeth are located in rows which rotate into use as needed. As teeth are lost, broken, or worn down, they are replaced by new teeth that rotate into place.


  • Color: The lemon shark has a yellow-brown or olive gray color on the dorsal surface and a lighter yellowish color on the undersides. There are no conspicuous markings.


  • Feeding Habits: The adult lemon shark feed mostly on bony fishes including( cowfish, spiny boxfish, croaker, jacks, mullet and catfish) and elasmobranchs including( guitarfish, stingrays and other sharks) but also eat crabs, lobsters, sea birds and conchs. Larger lemon sharks have also been found with sea turtle remains ( flippers ) in their stomachs Feeding occurs apparently occurs throughout the day and night, although this species is most active at during twilight hours. Lemon sharks will eat until full with the rate of digestion is dependent on the amount of food consumed at a single time. This shark usually has one of two prey items in its stomach at any one time. Lemon sharks are capable of flipping their stomachs out of their mouths to eject undigested or indigestible materials. Sharks, including lemon sharks, regularly eat items they cannot digest such as large bones, metal items such as license plates, and of course, trash. Being able to eject these materials prevents the shark from being injured or killed.


  • Social Behaviour: Lemon sharks are typically a solitary species. It display a possible agonistic display consisting of figure-eight swimming and jaw gaping.


  • Habitat | Migration | Distribution: The lemon shark is commonly found near the surface in subtropical shallow water to depths of 300 feet and inhabits coral reefs, mangroves, and river mouths. It has adapted to be highly tolerent of shallow waters with low oxygen levels, such as warm-water mangrove swamps or bays. The lemon shark is also known to form loose aggregations based on size and sex and have been seen congregating near docks and fishing piers during the night, and returning to deep water during the day.


  • Life Span: It is believed that the lemon shark has an average life span of 27 years.


  • Reproduction: Lemon sharks are viviparous, giving birth to live free swimming pups. They mate in the spring and summer and about one year later give birth to 4 to 17 live young, about 2 feet in length. When these sharks copulate the male swims alongside the female. The male also bites the female during courtship.


  • Lemon Shark Attacks: It has attacked humans, but is generally not considered aggressive, unless provoked.


  • Population Report: Common.



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