Lemon Shark Fact Sheet
A short-nosed, stocky shark with small eyes. Snout is wider than
long. Both dorsal fins are of equal size. Origin of first dorsal
fin over free rear ends of pectoral fins.
Yellow-brownish, with white ventral surface.
Western Atlantic: New Jersey to southern Brazil, Gulf of Mexico,
Bahamas and Caribbean. Eastern Atlantic: Senegal to Ivory Coast.
Eastern Pacific: southern Baja California to Equador. Most common
in the Caribbean.
Very common in shore areas, down to a depth of at least 90m. Nocturnal.
Can lay motionless on the bottom. Pups stay in shallow water for
several years (to be protected from bigger sharks), can withstand
lower and higher salinities, and can even penetrate into fresh
water. Migration, size and sex segregation is known.
Fishes. Juveniles feed on fishes that live primarily in and around
mangroves, although about 20% of the diet is composed of invertebrates.
Adult lemon sharks feed on stingrays and eagle rays too, and even
small sharks and sea birds.
Average size between 200cm and 250cm, maximum total length about
Viviparous, with yolksac-placenta (giving birth to live young).
Gestation period lasts about 12 months. Females only give birth
every second year. 8 to 12 pups per litter. Size at birth between
60cm to 70cm. Pups show a very slow growth and grow only about
10cm to 15cm in their first year of live. Born in shallow waters
(nursery grounds). Sexual maturity is reached at 12 to 15 years
Based on their snout, lemon sharks look like the Bull shark
( Carcharhinus leucas ) that has a second dorsal fin
that is much smaller than the first one. Based on dorsal fins,
the Sandtiger shark ( Carcharias taurus ) looks
similar too, but they possess needle-like teeth that can be seen
easily since they swim with a very open mouth.
Danger to humans: