Description & Behavior

Atlantic sharpnose sharks, Rhizoprionodon terraenovae (Richardson, 1836), are small, gray, streamlined sharks, with characteristic long, pointed snouts. Males reach at least 1 m in length, females may be slightly larger to 1.1 m. Their average weight is 7.25 kg. The edge of their anal fins are either straight or slightly concave. Their second dorsal fins are located behind their anal fins. Atlantic sharpnose sharks are known to reach at least 10 years in age.

World Range & Habitat


Atlantic sharpnose sharks are found in the western Atlantic from New Brunswick, Canada south to the Gulf of Mexico, and in the Southwest Atlantic along the coasts of Brazil in waters ranging from 10-280 m deep at 47°N-33°S. These sharks prefer subtropical waters near continental shelves from the intertidal zone out to deeper waters. They are often found near the surf zone of sandy beaches and in enclosed bays, sounds, harbors, estuaries, and river mouths. This shark is able to tolerate lower salinity levels but, they do not venture into freshwater like bull sharks.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

Atlantic sharpnose sharks feed on small bony fishes, shrimps, crabs, worms, and mollusks.

Life History

Atlantic sharpnose sharks give birth to 1-7 pups that measure about 29-37 cm at birth.

Conservation Status & Comments

This shark, like most sharks, is harmless to humans.

References & Further Research

Photo from Sharks and Rays. TC Tricas, K Deacon, P Last, JE McCosker, TI Walker, L Taylor. 1997. Nature Company Guides, Time Life Book Series. Weldon Owen Pty Ltd San Francisco.

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