atlantic sharpnose shark

A common shark here in Jupiter

The Atlantic Sharpnose shark (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae) is a requiem shark in the family Carcharhinidae, found in the subtropical waters of the northwestern Atlantic Ocean.


Family: Carcharhinidae – Requiem sharks

Genus: Rhizoprionodon

Species: terraenovae



Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Carcharhinidae

Common NameRequiem Sharks




Average Size and Length: The Atlantic Sharpnose shark’s maximum length is known to be about 3.6–3.9 feet. Its average size is usually between 3.00–3.25 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The lower and upper jaws of an Atlantic Sharpnose shark have 24 or 25 rows of triangular teeth. They have very long upper labial furrows.

Head: The snout is long and sharply rounded.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Atlantic Sharpnose shark can be found in the subtropical waters of the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, between latitudes 43°N and 18°N. Atlantic Sharpnose sharks can be found as far north as New Brunswick, Canada, to as far south as the southern Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic Sharpnose sharks prefers warmer shallow coastal waters. They are usually found in water around 33 feet deep but have been reported at depths down to 920 feet deep. They are usually close to the surf zone and sandy beaches.

Diet: The Atlantic Sharpnose shark mostly eats bony fish, worms, shrimp, crabs, and mollusks. Some common fish include menhaden, eels, silversides, wrasses, jacks, toadfish, and filefish.

They do fall prey to larger sharks.

Aesthetic Identification: The Atlantic Sharpnose shark is grey to grey-brown with small light spots on the larger sharks. It is counter-shaded light below. They have dusky dorsal and caudal fins. Juvenile Atlantic Sharpnose sharks have black edges on the dorsal and caudal fins. The first dorsal fin starts well behind pectoral fin. The second dorsal fin originates over the middle of the anal fin. There is no interdorsal ridge present.

Biology and Reproduction: Atlantic Sharpnose sharks are viviparous. They have litters between 4 to 6 pups. Some accounts have recorded 7 pups. Gestation ranges from 10 to 11 months on average. Females are found in the marine estuaries during the late spring, but they breed mostly throughout the year.

Atlantic Sharpnose sharks are born ranging from a length 11–15 inches. For the first three months after birth, they grow an average of 2.0 inches per month. After that, the average growth rate decreases to .35 inches per month until they reach a length of 24 to 26 inches. Following that is linear growth spurt, about .51 inches per month for about a year.

Males mature at the age of 2–3 years at a length of 31–33 inches, while females seem to mature at the age of 2.5–3.5 years old, at a length around 33–35 inches.

It is been reported that the Atlantic Sharpnose shark can live up to 12 years.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Some research suggests they have been seen in small schools of 3 or more sharks.

Speed: They are active swimmers.

Atlantic Sharpnose Shark Future and Conservation: The Atlantic Sharpnose shark is an abundant species and is resilient to heavy commercial fishing pressures. This is also a common aquarium shark.

Atlantic Sharpnose Shark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.