Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Most common Shark in the 10,000 Islands

 

 

FOLLOW THE FISH
Capt. Pete Rapps 
Pete@CaptainRapps.com

Our summer water temperatures bring many types of Shark into the shallow waters of the 10,000 Islands. They are here to breed and arrive in good numbers. Although there are Shark here year round, It is now that they are most abundant.

Below is a list of the 5 most common Shark in our waters that one is most likely to catch. I have included some pretty interesting profile info obtained from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (myFWC.com) about their habitat, feeding, reproduction, and their sizes.

BULL SHARK Carcharhinus leucas. Habitat: Common apex predator that inhabits estuarine, nearshore and offshore waters of both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Florida. Commonly enters estuarine waters and is one of the few shark species that may inhabit freshwater, sometimes venturing hundreds of miles inland via coastal river systems. Feeding: Versatile and opportunistic feeder. Stomach contents have included a variety of bony fishes and invertebrate species, sharks, rays, dolphins, sea turtles, and sea birds. Reproduction: Gives birth to live young. Litters contain 1-13 pups. Size at birth about 2.4 feet. Utilizes shallow bays and coastal lagoons as nursery areas. Size/Age: Maximum size about 11 feet. Matures at approximately 14-18 years of age (about 6.5 feet) and is estimated to live 24+ years.

LEMON SHARK Negaprion brevirostris. Habitat: An abundant, inshore tropical shark that inhabits both estuarine and nearshore

 

 

waters of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Florida. Commonly enters estuarine waters and often ventures into freshwater areas, but does not penetrate as far up rivers as the Bull shark. Migrates southward and into deeper waters in the winter months. Feeding: Feeds on a variety of bony fishes, crustaceans, mollusks, rays, small sharks, and occasionally on sea birds. Reproduction: Gives birth to live young. Litters contain 4-17 pups. Size at birth about 2 feet. Utilizes shallow bays and coastal lagoons as nursery areas. Size/Age: Maximum size about 10.5 feet. Matures at approximately 11-12 years of age (about 8 feet) and is estimated to live 27+ years.

BLACKTIP SHARK Carcharhinus limbatus. 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 eats 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.

CBN_B3-19BONNETHEAD SHARK Sphyrna tiburo. Habitat: Abundant in nearshore Florida waters. Commonly seen over shallow sand and mud flats. Moves into deeper, coastal waters during the colder months. Feeding: Feeds primarily on crabs, shrimp, mollusks, and small fishes. Reproduction: Gives birth to live young. Litters contain 4-16 pups. Size at birth about 12 inches. Size/Age: Smallest member of the hammerhead family. Maximum length about 3.5 feet. Matures at approximately 2 years of age (about 30 inches) and is estimated to live 7+ years.

NURSE SHARK Ginglymostoma cirratum. Habitat: An abundant, coastal, tropical and subtropical shark that inhabits nearshore waters of both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Florida. Often seen lying motionless on the bottom. Preferred habitats are coral reefs, rocks, and mangrove islands. Feeding: Feeds mainly on bottom invertebrates such as spiny lobsters, shrimps, crabs, sea urchins, squid, octopi, and marine molluscs; also feeds on some fish species, especially grunts. Reproduction: Gives birth to live young. Litters contain 20-50 pups. Size at birth about 1 foot. Mating aggregations reported in Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas, often in very shallow water. Juveniles utilize shallow coral reefs, rocky areas, grass flats, and mangrove islands as nursery habitat. Size/Age: Maximum size about 9 feet. Matures at approximately 7 feet and is estimated to live 24+ years.

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