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LEMON SHARK

Negaprion brevirostris

Family: Carcharhinidae

Description: yellow coloration, first and second dorsal fin of similar size, flattened head, short broad snout. Neonates are bluish grey with white undersides and black fin edges whilst juveniles are yellowish brown/ grey above with yellow undersides. 

Size: 300cm

Weight: 160kg

Sexual maturity: 245 cm in males based on clasper calcification at 11.6 years and 235-245cm in females at 12.7 years.

Reproduction: placental viviparous, brood size 7-18 

Average life span: data unknown, at least 20 years.

Habitat: found in tropical and subtropical waters. Juveniles are known to remain in nurseries along shallow beaches, sea grass flats and around mangroves for years for ease of foraging and protection against predation. Their home range increases with size and they tend to venture into deeper waters as they grow larger.

Distribution: Eastern Pacific from Gulf of California to Ecuador and Western Atlantic from New Jersey to Brazil.

Diet: feed on small bony fishes and crustaceans.

Status: near Threatened.

Human pressure: previously exploited for its oil and hide used as leather. Lemons are often caught by anglers for fishing tournaments due to their size and the juveniles are found to be hardy and can feed in captivity, therefore have been exhibited in aquaria. They are also caught by commercial fisherman for their meat and fins.