SHARK SPOTLIGHT: Spinner Sharks Common to Florida, Sometimes Spotted Above Water’s Surface

By  //  March 10, 2018

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shark attains a maximum length of about 10 feet

Spinner sharks are common to Florida waters and are sometimes spotted above the water’s surface. During feeding frenzies, they may leap out of the water and spin around several times before dropping back into the sea.

Spinner sharks are common to Florida waters and are sometimes spotted above the water’s surface.

During feeding frenzies, they may leap out of the water and spin around several times before dropping back into the sea.

They primarily feed on fish, but also have been known to eat stingrays, squid and octopus.

The spinner shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna) is a species of requiem shark, in the family Carcharhinidae, named for the spinning leaps it makes as a part of its feeding strategy.

This species occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide, except for in the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is found from coastal to offshore habitats to a depth of 330 feet, though it prefers shallow water.

The spinner shark resembles a larger version of the blacktip shark, with a slender body, long snout, and black-marked fins. This species can be distinguished from the blacktip shark by the first dorsal fin, which has a different shape and is placed further back, and by the black tip on the anal fin in adults only.

It attains a maximum length of about 10 feet.

The spinner shark resembles a larger version of the blacktip shark, with a slender body, long snout, and black-marked fins. This species can be distinguished from the blacktip shark by the first dorsal fin, which has a different shape and is placed further back, and by the black tip on the anal fin in adults only. (Wikipedia image)

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Spinner sharks are swift and gregarious predators that feed on a wide variety of small bony fishes and cephalopods. When feeding on schools of forage fish, they will speed vertically through the school while spinning on their axis, erupting from the water at the end.

Like other members of its family, the spinner shark is viviparous, with females bearing litters of three to 20 young every other year. The newborns are born in shallow nursery areas near the coast and are relatively fast-growing.

This species is not usually dangerous to humans but may become belligerent when excited by food. Spinner sharks are valued by commercial fisheries across their range for their meat, fins, liver oil, and skin.

They are also esteemed as strong fighters by recreational fishers. The IUCN has assessed this species as Near Threatened worldwide and Vulnerable off the southeastern United States.

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