Spinner Shark

Appearance: Large and slender shark with a long and pointed snout. Small eyes. First dorsal fin is small and semifalcate. Origin of first dorsal fin usually over or slightly posterior to pectoral free rear tip. No interdorsal ridge.

Coloration: Grey-bronze coloration, white belly. Most often with a narrow, white band on flanks, sometimes not conspicuous. Large juveniles and adults with black tips on pectoral fins, second dorsal fin, anal and ventral caudal lobe, and sometimes on pelvic fin, first dorsal and fin and dorsal caudal lobe, too.

Distribution: Wide range, nearly world-wide. Western Atlantic: Northern Carolina to Florida, Bahamas and Cuba (probably not in the Caribbean). Northern Gulf of Mexico.

Biology: A fast swimming, very active, schooling shark that often leaps spinning out of the water (hence its name) to catch prey. It swims rapidly upward through schools of fishes with an open mouth, spinning along its long axis and snapping in all directions, then it penetrates the surface after its feeding run. Often found in coastal to pelagic, warm-temperate and tropical regions of continental and insular shelves. Common in shallow waters at a depth of less than 90 ft. (max. down to 225 ft.depth). Sometimes highly migratory.

Feeding: Feeds primarily on fishes (sardines, herrings, anchovies, lizardfishes, tunas, bonitos...) but small sharks and rays, too.

Size: Average size about 6 ft. and 110 lbs, maximum close to 9 ft. (females).

Reproduction: Viviparous species, with yolksac-placenta. 3 to 15 pups per litter. Pups are born in coastal waters and have a birth size between 2 and 2.5 ft, and have a fast growth rate. Males mature between 5 to 6.5 ft., females mature between 5.5 to 6.5 ft. Gestation period of 12 to 15 months. Different birth periods are known.

Similar species: Several similar species but the very dark tip of the anal fin is very distinguishable. Mostly mistaken for the blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) that possesses a light colored anal fin.

Danger to humans: This species is not considered dangerous to human beings, although it could be troublesome to divers when spearfishing.