Scientific Name: Negaprion brevirostris
Common Name: Lemon Shark, Gold Shark, and Goldie
Distribution and Habitat: Lemon sharks favor environments with warm coastal water and rocky or sandy bottomed substrates. Lemon sharks also tend to favor areas with lots of mangrove estuarine environments, although they do tend to avoid areas covered in various species of sea grass. Mangrove estuaries are extremely important for Lemon shark development for they play a perfect safe haven for young or new born Lemons. By hiding and hunting throughout the mangroves these young sharks avoid predation from their much larger relatives. Lemon sharks are also known for being a live bearing species of shark (IE they give birth to their young instead of laying eggs.) Lemon sharks are found primarily in the Americas Tropical and Subtropical waters of both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. They are also found of the coast of Western Africa in the Atlantic. Areas known to harbor Lemon sharks include: Coastal Atlantic United States, Mexico, Caribbean, Mid to Southern South America, Eastern Pacific California, and Ecuador. Lemon sharks cruise tropical and subtropical waters of coral reefs, bays, inlets, islands, channels, and river mouths. On rare occasions the Lemon has also been sighted in the Tropical open ocean although this is thought to be only during migrations. Although known to swim up rivers they do not venture very far into fresh water.
Anatomy and Appearance: The Lemon shark is most notable for its yellow or goldish coloration. Since this shark spends the majority of its time swimming over sandy colored substrates its coloration acts as a perfect camouflage. The Lemon shark does display counter shading with a slightly lighter/white ventral side. Its body shape includes a broad round snout with a wedge shaped head. The body although long is built more for cruising than for speed swimming. The Lemon shark also has a second dorsal fin nearly as large as its primary dorsal fin which allows it more maneuverability in shallow water. The lemon shark commonly attains a length of 2.4 to 3.1 m (7.9 to 10.2 ft) and a weight of up to 90 kg (200 lb) by adulthood, although sexual maturity is attained at 2.24 m (7.3 ft) in males and 2.4 m (7.9 ft) in females.
The maximum recorded length and weight is 3.43 m (11.3 ft) and 183.7 kg (405 lb). Another notable feature of the Lemon shark is its almost cat like golden eyes. These eyes are built to filter in even the most minute rays of light to allow the shark amazing vision in low light environments.
Diet, Hunting and Feeding Behavior: Lemon sharks are fairly social animals usually living in large groups both for protection and hunting. Lemon sharks have also been known to live alongside other species of shark sometimes cooperating as hunting partners although scavenging is more common. They are considered one of the most intelligent shark species often using memory and judgement of individual incidents to learn. They are capable of shape and individual recognition and have been claimed by scientists to have an intelligence level equal to some species of parrots. Lemon sharks dine primarily on various fish species inhabiting their coastal environments, but have also been known to feed on: crustaceans, benthic organisms, and sea birds. Lemons are mostly active at night tending to do most of their hunting between dusk and dawn. When hunting Lemon sharks stalk their prey for a lengthy time to then suddenly rush them. Once rushed they sharply brake with their pectoral fins and lunge forward until establishing a good grasp upon prey. The Lemon then violently shakes its head from side to side tearing off a sizable chunk of flesh.
Note: This image is a stock image taken from online sources, this is not Namyr copyrighted work.