These sharks are found more in the keys area of Florida than other parts of Florida. This may be due to the aggregation that takes place when they mate like in Jupiter. On February 18, 2010, the Commissioners of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted unanimously to add Lemon Sharks to Florida’s Prohibited Species List. This means that the harvest of lemon sharks – commercial and recreational – is now prohibited in Florida State waters. No more killing this creature for it’s fins!
Lemon sharks are perfect for open water shark diving. You will also be able to see them when snorkeling in clear waters. Their numbers are abundant and it’s not uncommon to find up to 30 Lemon sharks in one area. The Lemon shark pose very little threat to humans and divers, and are likely to swim away if approached. There have only been 10 reported Lemon shark attacks and none of them have been fatal. Lemon sharks can easily been seen in shallow water, so only the basic open water scuba diving certification is required. The majority of the time, these sharks are gentle and tend to avoid conflict.
The lemon shark is commonly found in Florida’s southern coastal waters, especially around wrecks and ledges. It commonly enters estuarine waters and often ventures into freshwater areas, but does not penetrate as far up rivers as the bull shark. Common places you’re likely to find a Lemon shark are coral reefs, mangroves, sheltered bays and river mouths. Lemon sharks can be found in oceanic water during migration but tend to stay along the continental and insular shelves. The lemon shark is also known to aggregate based on size and sex and have been seen congregating in shallower water at night and returning to deep water during the day. The females always go back to where they are from for mating where the males are nomadic. Probably a good thing so there is less chance of inbreeding.
This shark loves the tropical and subtropical waters in coastal areas of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They stay in moderately shallow water, normally going no deeper than 80 meters (roughly 260 feet).
Unlike most sharks, the Lemon shark can handle captivity for extended periods of time. Therefore, scientists are able to learn alot about them.
Lemon sharks feed on various types of bony fish that are found in the waters. Mainly they stick to small prey that aren’t able to put up much of a fight. Catfish, mullet, jacks, croakers, cowfish, guitarfish, stingrays, crabs and crayfish are common meals for the Lemon shark. To supplement their diet Lemon sharks will often eat sea birds. They sometimes feed on small sharks as well. When meat can’t be readily found the lemon shark will even end up feeding on mollusks and crustaceans. They don’t require a large volume of food due to their small size so they can go quite a while without feeding.
Lemon Sharks have many features to help you identify them on being the obvious lemon yellow color. At certain depths, this shark looks like it has a pitted surface very much like a lemon. It can grow to 11 feet, but most do not exceed 9 feet, weighing over 200 pounds. Lemon sharks are bottom dwellers. They have terrible eyesight and cannot see well to find their food but they have sensitive and accurate magnetic sensors in the nose that help them detect tasty treats.
Like most sharks, the Lemon shark has very sharp teeth but they are shaped differently. They are curved rather than straight up and down. This is to allow them to easily catch fish that are slippery and could otherwise get away. They get a new set of teeth about every week.
They are viviparous (giving birth to live pups). Gestation is about 12 months, and litters of 4-17 pups are born with newborn lengths of around 60cm.