Family: Hemigaleidae – Weasel sharks
Common Name– Ground Sharks
Common Name– Weasel Sharks
Status: IUCN Red List DATA DEFICIENT
Average Size and Length: The longest recorded Atlantic Weasel shark was 4.5 feet.
Average Weight: The largest recorded was 24 pounds.
Teeth and Jaw: The Atlantic Weasel shark has a short, small mouth. It has small, serrated upper teeth and erect-cusped lower teeth.
Head: It has a long snout and large eyes.
Tail: The Atlantic Weasel shark has asymmetric caudal fins with precaudal pits.
Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Atlantic Weasel shark can be found inshore and offshore along continental shelves of the eastern Atlantic, it can be found close to land in the surf zone from Mauritania to Angola. It is found in tropical to warm-temperate waters around the Cape Verde Islands, reaching depths of 328 feet.
The Atlantic Weasel shark has been found in the following countries: Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. It has also been recorded on one occasion off of New England which is the east coast of the United States.
Diet: They mainly eat cephalopods, squid and octopuses, bony fish including sardines and soles.
Aesthetic Identification: The Atlantic Weasel shark is a very slender shark. It is a light grey to bronze background color with longitudinal yellow stripes on the sides of the body. Of its two dorsal fins, the first fin, located in front of the pelvic fins, is larger than the second.
Biology and Reproduction: The Atlantic Weasel shark is viviparous. Mating season is from March to May, and they give birth between May and June. Females have between 1 and 4 pups per litter born at about 1.5 feet. They mature later in life, and have a slow growth rate. Males mature at about 2.6 feet and females between 2.5 and 2.9 feet in length.
Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Little is known.
Atlantic Weasel Shark Future and Conservation: Currently, there are no conservation efforts because their fishing levels aren’t monitored. Atlantic Weasel sharks are a common catch of small commercial fisheries in the Eastern Atlantic and are mostly captured during mostly captured during spring and summer in fishing sites along the coast of Senegal. They are caught using longlines, hook and line, gillnets, and bottom trawls. Their meat is used either fresh or dried for human consumption and also processed into fishmeal.
Atlantic Weasel Shark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.