Shark Species NC SC

From Summer 2015 Group 2 report:
Atlantic
sharp nose
sharks
(Rhizoprionodon
terraenovae) are among the most common in North
Carolina waters. The adults can reach 4 feet in length and are found both in estuarine and oceanic
waters, usually during the summer and autumn.
Sharp nose sharks use Core Sound and other sounds to
the south as nurseries. Their foot-long pups can be very common in these areas, often caught by
recreational fishermen looking for puppy drum and Spanish mackerel. Adults generally are greenish-
grey with white spots, while pups usually are lighter colored.
Blacktip
sharks
(Carcharhinus limbatus) are among the larger sharks in the sounds, reaching lengths of
8 feet, although most measure 6 feet or less. They occur in ocean waters from late spring to late fall, and
usually move into the sounds during the summer and autumn. These fast predators chase schools of
menhaden and mullet, and will sometimes make spinning leaps out of the water while feeding.
Recreational fishermen target these sharks for the strong fight they can put up when hooked. Blacktip
sharks have black margins on every fin but the anal fin. The leading edge of their dorsal fin starts just
above or slightly before the trailing edge of the pectoral fins.
Bonnethead sharks
(Sphyrna tiburo) are small members of the hammerhead shark family, with adults
reaching a maximum length of 5 feet. They occasionally occur in the southern reaches of Pamlico Sound
and become common from Core Sound south, as well as close to the beach on the ocean side of the
barrier islands.
Bonnet heads primarily feed on crustaceans, especially blue crabs, and can be seen
sweeping their heads across the bottom to detect electrical signals given off by buried prey. These
sharks have smaller, more rounded “hammers” than other hammerhead species.
Bull sharks
(Carcharhinus leucas), which can
top off at 10.5 feet, are the apex predators of the North
Carolina sounds. They can tolerate brackish and fresh water, and for that reason can be found in nearly
any body of water that has a connection to the ocean. Adults and juveniles have been sighted in the
Newport, Neuse and Pamlico rivers, and even parts of the Albemarle Sound. Bull sharks attack large
prey, as evidenced by bite scars on resident bottlenose dolphins in the Neuse River and reports of large
red drum eaten off fishermen’s hooks. This species can be dangerous to humans and should be treated
with caution. Bull sharks are recognizable by their wide body, blunt nose and proportionally small eyes.