IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Brief Summary

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The Atlantic sharpnose shark (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae) is common species of requiem shark (family Carcharhinidae) usually inhabiting warm temperate to tropical waters to about 32 feet (10 m) in depth.  They are year round residents in the Gulf of Mexico and north to South Carolina, but are found along the northwest Atlantic from the Yucatan peninsula to the Bay of Fundy and along the coast of Brazil.  In the winter they migrate offshore to deeper waters, and have been recorded to depths of 980 feet (230m).

The Atlantic sharpnose is small in size compared to other requiem sharks, reaching a maximum length of about 3.5 feet (1.1 m).  They have two dorsal fins, the second just above their anal fin.  Adults are various shades of grey with white splotches and stripes of white behind pectoral fins.  Juveniles have striking black tips on their dorsal fins and tail.  They prey on small fish, worms, crustaceans and molluscs.  They are abundant, and one of the most commonly caught coastal shark species, target by shark fisheries and sold for human consumption, and also caught as bycatch in shrimp nets.  While they come into frequent contact with humans and shark bites have been reported, most bites are not serious.  Because they are abundant, mature at an early age, and reasonably fecund, giving birth to 4-7 live pups per year, their conservation status is classified by the IUCN as of Least Concern.

Rhizoprionodon terraenovae is known by a multitude of common names.  Its names Atlantic are sharpnose shark, Newfoundland shark, sharp-nosed shark, and white shark.  Other names include Atlantische scherpsnuithaai (Dutch), bicudo (Portuguese), cação-alecrim (Portuguese), cação-de-bico-doce (Portuguese), cação-fidalgo (Portuguese), cazón (Spanish), cazón chino (Spanish), cazón de ley (Spanish), cazón picudo atlántico (Spanish), chien de mer (French), cucuri (Portuguese), cuur (Wolof), frango (Portuguese), requin à nez pointu (French), requin aiguille gussi (French), squalo di terranuova (Italian), tollito (Spanish), tollo hocicón (Spanish), and tubarao-terranova (Portuguese).

(Cortés 2009; Delius and Morgan 2013; Carpenter 2013; MarineBio Conservation Society 2013)


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