Habitat: Common in Florida’s coastal waters, bays and estuaries. A very active, fast-swimming shark often seen at the surface. Often forms large schools during annual migration times. Migrates southward and into deeper coastal waters during winter months. May leap out of the water and, like the related spinner shark, spin around several times before dropping back into the sea.
Feeding: Feeds primarily on fishes but also eat small sharks, some rays and skates, squid, crabs, octopus, and lobster.
Reproduction: Gives birth to live young. Litters contain 1–10 pups. Females swim into shallow bays in spring and early summer to give birth. Size at birth 22–28 inches.
Size/Age: Maximum length about 6 feet. Matures at approximately 6–7 years of age(about 5 feet) and is estimated to live 10 + years.
Human Factors: Valuable commercial species with marketable flesh, hide, fins, and liver. One of the most commonly collected sharks in the commercial fishery. Fished for sport on light tackle and often leap out of the water when hooked. Has been implicated in attacks on bathers.
Illustration: © Diane Rome Peebles