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Florida Sportfishing Species

Family Carcharhinidae


Description: Long and flattened snout; white trailing edge of pectoral; black-edged dorsal and caudal fins, especially when young; may have small whitish spots on sides; furrows in lips at the corners of the mouth; outer margin of teeth notched; second dorsal fin originates over middle of anal fin; brown to olive-gray in color with white underside; slender body.

Similar Fish: Other carcharhinids.

Where found: INSHORE species, even found in surf; also common in bays and estuaries; adults occur OFFSHORE.

Size: Small species, 2 to 4 feet.

Remarks: Mature adults between 2 and 2.75 feet long; 4-7 newborns range from 9 to 14 inches in length; adults feed on small fish and crustaceans.

Description: broadly widened head in the shape of a shovel; only slight indentation of anal fin; front of head not notched at midline; gray or grayish-brown in color.

Similar Fish: other hammerhead sharks.

Where found: INSHORE species found in bays and estuaries.

Size: commonly 3 to 4 feet.

Remarks: matures at about 3 feet in length and bears 6 to 12 young at one time; feeds chiefly on crabs and other crustaceans.

Description: Snout broadly rounded and short; first dorsal fin triangular and very high; poorly developed dermal ridge between dorsal fins; brown or gray in color with white underside; upper and lower teeth finely serrated.

Similar Fish: Dusky shark, Carcharhinus obscurus; bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas.

Where found: NEARSHORE fish typically found at depths ranging from 60 to 200 feet.

Size: common to 6 feet.

Remarks: Both predator and scavanger; feeding chiefly near the bottom on fish and shellfish; migrates long distances; matures at about 6 feet in length.

Description: Fifth gill slit shorter than 4 preceeding ones and located posterior to pectoral fin base; flattened head extending to hammer-like lobes on each side; distinct indentation of the front margin of the head at its midpoint; second dorsal fin longer than tail; gray-brown to olive in color with white underbelly; teeth smooth-edged; pectoral fins tipped with black on the undersurface; tips of first and second dorsal lobes and caudal also may have dusky tips; pelvic fin with nearly straight hind margin.

Similar Fish: Other hammerhead sharks.

Where found: Both OFFSHORE and INSHORE.

Size: common to 6 feet and can reach 14 feet.

Remarks: Predatory fish, feeding mainly on fish, squid, and stingrays; male matures at about 6 feet in length.

Description: Lunate tail with similarly sized lobes; lateral keel at the base of the tail; deep blue back and white underside; underside of sharply pointed snout white; origin of first dorsal entirely behind base of pectoral fins; second dorsal fin slightly in front of anal fin; slender, recurved teeth with smooth edge.

Similar Fish: White shark, Carcharodon carcharias; longfin mako, Isurus paucus.

Where found: OFFSHORE fish often seen near the surface.

Size: Commonly 6 to 8 feet (200 to 300 pounds).

Remarks: Active, strong swimming fish known for leaping out of the water when hooked; feeds on mackerel, tuna, sardines, and some much larger fish.


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