I’m glad I had you guys to bounce the ID off of, and thanks for setting me straight. The fishermen we were working with were totally convinced this little guy was a blacktip and that seemed to make sense at the time. Blacktip sharks are generally stockier than spinner sharks, with a shorter snout and a dorsal fin that starts slightly before the rear margin of the pectoral fins. . The most reliable distinction between the two is the black tip on the anal fin for the spinner. Thresher – upper lobe of caudal fin extremely … The blacktip shark, Carcharhinus limbatus and the spinner shark, C. brevipinna, comprised 33-50% of the total pelagic shark catch in recent coastal Gulf of Mexico surveys (Branstetter, 1981, 1986). The dominant species of these migratory sharks are blacktip and spinner sharks, but other large predators follow this annual migratory pattern, including: hammerheads and bull sharks. By Peter Miller, Bass 2 Billfish. It is likely also caught by other fisheries across its range, going unreported owing to confusion with the blacktip shark. For the purposes of commercial quotas and recreational bag limits, the spinner shark is categorized as a "large coastal shark".. , The average spinner shark is 2 m (6.6 ft) long and weighs 56 kg (123 lb); this species attains a maximum known length and weight of 3 m (9.8 ft) and 90 kg (200 lb). Like other members of its family, the spinner shark is viviparous, with females bearing litters of three to 20 young every other year. , Spinner sharks feed primarily on small bony fish, including tenpounders, sardines, herring, anchovies, sea catfish, lizardfish, mullets, bluefish, tunas, bonito, croakers, jacks, mojarras, and tongue-soles. Spinners are generally more streamlined, have shorter pectoral fins, and have a dorsal fin that originates behind the rear margin of the pectoral fins. , The IUCN has assessed the spinner shark as near threatened worldwide and vulnerable in the northwest Atlantic; its frequent use of coastal habitats renders it vulnerable to human exploitation and habitat degradation. 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.  Females give birth to three to 20 (usually seven to 11) pups every other year, after a gestation period of 11–15 months. Juveniles have been known to enter bays, but avoid brackish conditions. I realized after we released it that the best way to tell the difference is that Spinner's have a black tip on the Anal fin, and unfortunately my hand is covering the Anal fin in … It is often mistaken for the spinner shark because both species have torpedo-shaped bodies and are known for spinning out of the water while feeding. I’ve seen a bunch that were lacking a blacktip on the anal fin, but that one is lacking black tips on several fins…could just be the photo though. Chuck, Bryan is right.  Off Madagascar, spinner sharks follow migrating schools of mackerel, tunas, and jacks.  As of 2008, the International Shark Attack File listed 16 unprovoked attacks and one provoked attack attributable to the spinner shark, none of them fatal. The black tipped fins are also a giveaway; ironically, blacktip sharks often have less obvious black tips than spinners, and lack a black tip on the anal fin. It attains a maximum length of 3 m (9.8 ft). Not to be confused with the blacktip reef shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus.  Groups of spinner sharks are often found pursuing schools of prey at high speed. At this time the waters of Florida's most popular beaches literally teem with blacktip sharks, which migrate in search of warm water and food. Like blacktip sharks, they congregate around shrimp trawlers to feed on the discarded bycatch, and may be incited into feeding frenzies. The giveaway for me, besides the lack of body depth is the origin of the second dorsal fin over the mid point of the anal fin. While jumping, the shark will frequently spin three or four times. . A Florida fishing expert shares his tips and tools for catching spinner sharks. Spinners also tend to be more slender than blacktip sharks. Aprionodon caparti Poll, 1951 The giveaway for me, besides the lack of body depth, is the origin of the second dorsal fin over the mid point of the anal fin. A blacktip shark can be seen nearby, swimming to avoid the predator.  In a 2007 ribosomal DNA study, the spinner shark was found to be the most genetically divergent of all the requiem shark species examined save for the tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), being less related to other Carcharhinus species than the lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris). A blacktip will usually have much stronger contrast in their skin color than a spinner. Normally wary of humans, blacktip sharks can become aggressive in the presence of food and have been responsible for a number of attacks on people. on whether my species ID is sound. One small species, C. melanopterus, is found in … Blacktip Shark. . The spinner shark resembles a larger version of the blacktip shark(C. limbatus), with a slender body, long snout, and blac… The spinner shark differs from the blacktip shark in that its first dorsal fin is slightly more triangular in shape and is placed further back on the body. Blacktips usually have a much taller dorsal fin than a spinner shark. If anyone else has any horror stories about species ID, feel free to share them in the comments. The general life history of both species was recently summarized in Garrick Did I have a blacktip, a spinner, or something completely different (maybe some hideous hybrid of the two)? Capt. Image from fishbase.org. I’d hate to say it Chuck, but I’m voting neither. The teeth have long, narrow central cusps and are finely serrated in the upper jaw and smooth in the lower jaw. This species occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide, except for in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The answer is yes. This slender shark is often mistaken for a blacktip shark because its fins have gray or black tips. Lemon – first and second triangular dorsal fins about equal in size. Carcharhinus johnsoni Smith, 1951 Is my species ID sound? Update – Looks like the consensus is that this shark is neither a blacktip or a spinner, but a mid-sized, dark-colored Atlantic sharpnose. During my last trip out to the field, I documented a small shark that came up in the gillnet, and identified it as a juvenile blacktip shark. Uranga nasuta Whitley, 1943. They are also esteemed as strong fighters by recreational fishers. The lack of a black spot on the anal fin was what initially caused me to classify the shark I caught as a blacktip. Another noticeable feature is the contrast of their skin color. The northwest Atlantic subpopulation is known to be migratory; in spring and summer, they are found in warm inshore waters, and in winter, they move south into deeper water. You can find shark in soups, grilled, barbecued, in tacos, as steaks, on kebabs and even as jerky. The blacktip shark is a widespread, medium-sized shark characterized by its black-tipped pectoral, dorsal and tail fins that give this species its name. Isogomphodon maculipinnis Poey, 1865 These little sharpnose often fool observers too due to their lack of spots and black margins. Every year, just as fall turns into winter, Florida's east coast experiences a massive migration of sharks from the North. Today, it’s still a common food in places across the globe. 1 The blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) is a species of requiem shark, and part of the family Carcharhinidae.It is common to coastal tropical and subtropical waters around the world, including brackish habitats. Their diet consists mostly of bony fish.  Parasitological evidence suggests that Indian Ocean spinner sharks have passed through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea, becoming Lessepsian migrants. The meat is marketed under the name "blacktip shark" in the United States, due to that species being considered superior in quality by consumers. Spinner Similar to blacktip but first dorsal fin originates begin behind the pectoral fins and anal fin has black tip. So that’s the story of how my Carcharhinus limbatus may have become a Carcharhinus brevipinna. The blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) is regularly found at pup and juvenile sizes in local waters (albeit not usually in February). Just saw Bryan’s comment – I’m on board with it being a juvenile sharpnose.  The blacktip shark also performs this behavior, though not as often. , Some uncertainty exists in the distribution data for the spinner shark due to confusion with the blacktip shark. Spinner shark, C. brevipinna (anal fin has a black tip and first dorsal fin … Blacktip sharks; Spinner sharks; Lemon sharks; Big nurse sharks; Hammerhead sharks; Tiger sharks; Let’s talk about the best rig for shark fishing, starting with the hook and moving up from there. , The spinner shark has been reported from the ocean surface to a depth of 100 m (330 ft), though it prefers water less than 30 m (98 ft) deep, and occupies all levels of the water column. The pectoral fins are moderately short, narrow, and falcate (sickle-shaped). Mapping a Smoother Fishery for Smooth Dogfish, Sharks in Pamlico Sound: The Bigger Picture, Global Shark Tracker | Droolin' Dog dot Net. Appears to be an Atlantic sharpnose, Rhizoprionodon terraenovae. Lemon First and second triangular dorsal fins about equal in size. A distinguishing feature is that the anal fin on the blacktip shark is white whereas the anal fin of the spinner shark has a black tip. There are two relatively common species in North Carolina waters that might match the description of this shark. This little feature is probably the easiest way to tell the two sharks apart… when they’re adults. Both spinner and blacktips 2nd dorsal is a little more inline with anal fin origin. I wonder how much of the controversy over fishermen seeing “tons of blacktips/duskies/blacknoses” are a result of these off-color sharpnoses. The pectoral fins are pretty short and the dorsal fin definitely originates behind the rear pectoral margin. They can grow up to 8 feet in length and close to 200 lbs. Time of year makes sense as well, we don’t see blacktips or spinners in SC until water temp tops 17 C. Thanks Bryan. Sometimes confused with blacktipped sharks, spinner sharks are common in Florida fishing waters. Indo-Pacific sharks are generally larger than those from the northwest Atlantic.  Smaller spinner sharks may be preyed upon by larger sharks. This species is of importance to both commercial and recreational fisheries across many parts of its range, with its meat, skin, fins, and liver oil used. Since my shark was definitely under 70 cm, what I should have been looking for was a lack of any black tips at all. They have also been known to eat stingrays, cuttlefish, squid, and octopus. My shark was just below the average size range for newborns of both species, but I didn’t find an umbilical scar, the usual sign of a neonatal shark. Spinner sharks are swift and gregarious predators that feed on a wide variety of small bony fishes and cephalopods.  The Northwest Atlantic fishery for this species is managed under the US National Marine Fisheries Service 1999 Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish, and Sharks. Thanks Bryan, Melissa, and Simon. Chuck, another thing to look for on the blacktip/spinner is the characteristic “Z line” or “racing stripe”, it’s a little faded in the pictures above, but very prominent when you have an individual in hand. Everyone should be alert while visiting Florida's Atlantic seaside between mid-January and early March. No ridge exists between the first and second dorsal fins.  This species has a slim, streamlined body with a distinctive, long, pointed snout.  The body is densely covered with diamond-shaped dermal denticles with seven (rarely five) shallow horizontal ridges. Thanks to Bryan, Melissa, and Simon for clearing it up. Another blacktip shark later in the video wasn’t so fortunate. Blacknose – grey to black blotch on tip of snout.  However, this interpretation was not supported by Gavin Naylor's 1992 allozyme analysis, which suggested that these similarities are the product of convergent evolution and that the closest relative of the spinner shark is the copper shark (C.  Individual prey are seized and swallowed whole, as this shark lacks cutting dentition. This species has the smallest ova relative to the fully developed embryo of any viviparous shark known.  Spinner sharks are relatively fast-growing sharks: 30 cm (12 in) per year for newborns, 25 cm (9.8 in) per year for one-year-olds, 10 cm (3.9 in) per year for adolescents, and 5 cm (2.0 in) per year for adults. , The meat of the spinner shark is of high quality and sold fresh or dried and salted. Image from fishbase.org. Here’s the best picture of the shark in question: This shark is fairly obviously a member of the Carcharhinidae family, the most speciose family of sharks and full of species that are distinguishable only by features as obscure as tooth shape, fin proportion, and vertebral count. Longmania calamaria Whitley, 1944 The coloration is gray above, sometimes with a bronze sheen, and white below, with a faint white band on the sides. The embryos are initially sustained by a yolk sac. Most of the sharpnoses I’ve seen have either been neonates (which are almost always white or light grey) or adults with the green/grey coloration and spots. Scouting the Maldives for the Best Resorts, In association & our Trusted Travel Counsellor in Maldives. Genetic analyses have revealed substantial variation within this species, with populations from the western Atlantic Ocean isolated and distinct from those in the rest of its range. Known parasites of the spinner shark include the copepods Kroyeria deetsi, Nemesis pilosus, and N. atlantica, which infest the shark's gills, Alebion carchariae, which infests the skin, Nesippus orientalis, which infests the mouth and gill arches, and Perissopus dentatus, which infests the nares and the rear margins of the fins. Remember when I mentioned that coloration can change with age and growth? It also demonstrates how tough it can be to get species-specific data for some coastal shark species, and that I really need to get as much hands-on ID experience as I can before I really get going with this project. 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