CARIBBEAN REEF SHARK
Description: large dark grey or grey-brown reef shark with white countershading on ventral side. Dusky edges on undersides of paired fins, anal and ventral caudal lobe. Short, blunt snout. Large pectoral fins, small first dorsal fin, and relatively large second dorsal fin located slightly ahead of the anal fin. Interdorsal ridge present.
Distribution and Habitat: Occurs in Atlantic tropical inshore waters, ranging from the southeastern coast of the United States (North Carolina) to Brazil. Commonly found on coral reefs on continental and insular shelves across a wide depth range, usually ranging at depths between 1-35 meters, but can be found at depths up to 378 meters.
Size: max size 295 cm total length. Size at birth is approximately 70cm total length.
Reproduction: Viviparous with a yolk-sac placenta. Litter size is between 3-6 pups. Gestation period is approximately 1 year on a biennial cycle. Males typically reach sexual maturity at 150-170 cm total length, and females mature around 180-190 cm total length.
Life span: estimated maximum age of 15 years.
Diet: mainly bony fish, crustaceans and cephalopods
IUCN Status: Endangered as of July 2019
Human pressures: Targeted and caught as bycatch in commercial and recreational fisheries that utilize longlines and gillnets causing population decline. Climate change impacting coral reefs are causing Caribbean reef sharks to lose their primary habitat for protection from fishing and foraging.