Atlantic sharpnose shark

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Atlantic sharpnose shark
Rhizoprionodon terraenovae nmfs.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Superorder: Selachimorpha
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Carcharhinidae
Genus: Rhizoprionodon
Species: R. terraenovae
Binomial name
Rhizoprionodon terraenovae
(J. Richardson, 1836)
Rhizoprionodon terraenovae distmap.png
Range of the Atlantic sharpnose shark

The Atlantic sharpnose shark, Rhizoprionodon terraenovae, is a requiem shark in the family Carcharhinidae, found in the subtropical waters of the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, between latitudes 43° N and 18° N.


Atlantic sharpnose shark

The Atlantic sharpnose shark is a small shark in comparison to others. The Atlantic sharpnose shark's maximum species length is known to be about 110–120 cm (3.6–3.9 ft). Although its average adult size tends to be about 91.4–99 cm (3.00–3.25 ft). There has been reports of these sharks living up to 10–12 years in the wild. A distinctive feature is that juveniles have black edges on the dorsal and caudal fins.[1]


Atlantic sharpnose sharks can be found as far north as New Brunswick, Canada, to as far south as the Southern Gulf of Mexico. Reports of specimens from Brazil, are likely being confused with the Brazilian Sharpnose Shark. Atlantic sharpnose sharks prefer warmer shallow coastal waters to live in. As they are often found in waters of less than 10.1 meters (33 feet)deep. Although there have been reports of Atlantic Sharpnose being found at up to 280 meters (920 feet) deep.[1][2][3]

Feeding Habits[edit]

The diet of the Atlantic sharpnose mostly consists of bony fish, worms, shrimp, crabs, and mollusks. Of the bony fish that are commonly consumed are menhaden, eels, silversides, wrasses, jacks, toadfish, and filefish.[1]


Atlantic sharpnose sharks are born ranging from a length of 29–37 cm (11–15 in). For the first three months after birth, Atlantic sharpnose sharks will grow an average 5 centimeters (2.0 in) per month. Then, in the winter and spring months, the average growth rate decreases to 0.9 centimeters (0.35 in) per month until the shark reaches a length of 60 to 65 centimeters (24 to 26 in), in which the shark's growth rate will increases linearly about 1.3 centimeters (0.51 in) per month for approximately a year. Male Atlantic sharpnose sharks mature at the age of 2–3 years old and will have a length of 80–85 cm (31–33 in). While females seem to mature at the age of 2.5–3.5 years old, at a length of about 84–89 cm (33–35 in).[1]


Female Atlantic sharpnose sharks are viviparous, which means they have live birth. Atlantic Sharpnose sharks tend to have a litter of 4 to 6 pups, but litter size may range from 1 to 7 pups, after a gestation period of 10–11 months. The pups are usually born at between 29–37 cm (11–15 in) in total length. Females will often be found in the marine estuaries during the late spring months, but they breed mostly throughout the year. They tend to mature around 2–3 years of age.[1][2][3]


Generally they are better suited for public aquariums, or very experienced private shark aquarists, which are capable of caring for active requiem sharks. These sharks are highly active swimmers and require lots of space. Also these sharks tend to do best in small schools of at least 3–5 sharks. Tanks or ponds which are round or oval shaped in design are best suited for these sharks. Atlantic Sharpnose sharks have been reported to live at least 4 years in captivity.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Atlantic Sharpnose Shark". Florida Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Rhizoprionodon terraenovae". International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Rhizoprionodon terraenovae (Richardson, 1836) Atlantic sharpnose shark". FishBase. Retrieved 18 August 2013.