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Lemon Shark – Negaprion brevirostris

Lemon Shark

Some chuckle at the name given to the lemon shark until they see one. This shark is yellow in color which is where the name derives from. They mainly stay close to the surface of the water. They also prefer water that is moderate or warm compared to the colder waters.

Lemon sharks are mainly found along the Southeastern coast in the United States. The Gulf of Mexico is also a prime location for them. They have been known to migrate to places including West Africa. You will notice them more in the summer months when they tend to migrate.

Interesting Facts about Lemon Sharks

Most people are very curious about lemon sharks due to their color. They are basically loners but they sometimes form small groups. They have been known to attack people from time to time. It is believed this is done out of fear and not aggression. There have only been 22 reported lemon shark attacks on humans with each person surviving.

The have a magnetic sensor in their nose that allows them to attract prey and to find others to mate with. They depend on this sense of smell because they have very poor eyesight. Without that sensor they would have a very hard time surviving.

The Food Source for Lemon Sharks

Lemon sharks feed on various types of fish that are found in the waters. Mainly they stick to small prey that aren’t able to put up much of a fight. When meat can’t be readily found the lemon shark will even end up feeding on mollusks and crustaceans. They don’t require a large volume of food due to their small size so they can go quite a while without feeding.

The Anatomy of a Lemon Shark

The lemon shark has one of the most peculiar colors of all the species. With a yellow color and white on the belly it is distinctive and won’t be mixed up with other species of sharks. They are a small species of sharks with the largest ones no more than 10 feet.

Like most sharks it has very sharp teeth but you will notice they are shaped differently. They are curved rather than straight up and down. This is to allow them to easily catch fish that are slippery and could otherwise get away.

Reproduction for a Lemon Shark

The mating of lemon sharks has been closely observed. The males and females will travel very long distances in order to find someone to mate with. Even if there are others in the area they tend to mate with those from a distance. Researchers aren’t sure what this means but they believe it has to do with not breeding with closely related males and females.

The lemon shark gives live birth to its young in the water. They may have a litter with four to about fourteen pups at a time. The females will migrate to very shallow waters before the birth occurs. This way the pups will have a good chance of surviving. The mother will leave them as soon as they are born to care for themselves.

What does the Future hold for the Lemon Shark?

Conservation status: Near Threatened

The lemon shark seems to do quite well on its own so there aren’t any concerns about its future. There has been a drop in numbers over recent years though and it is believed to be due to the use of the waters they once lived in for other purposes.

Some people believe they are in danger due to the number of them in captivity. However, researchers have found that the lemon shark does well in captivity so they are able to observe their behaviors and abilities. It has allowed them to learn a great deal about sharks in general.




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May 2016
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