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Lemon shark

Scientific Name - Negaprion brevirostris

The lemon shark's back is deep yellow (giving it its name); its belly is off-white. It is used extensively in scientific research since it does well in captivity. It is requiem shark that is fairly common along the southeast coast of the USA. It lives near the surface and at moderate depths, frequenting bays, docks, and river mouths.

Scientific Classification

  • Order: Carcharhiniformes
  • Family: Carcharhinidae
  • Genus: Negaprion
  • Species: brevirostris
  • Scientific Name: Negaprion brevirostris

Life Expectancy

25 years

Dangerous to Man?

No - These sharks represent a small threat to humans. According to the International Shark Attack File, there have been only 10 unprovoked attacks by lemon sharks, all occurring in Florida and the Caribbean. There have been no fatal attacks attributed to this species. The lemon shark does inhabit coastal waters which swimmers, surfers and divers commonly utilize. The low number of attacks by this species indicates that it is a minimal threat to humans.
Conservation Status

The IUCN rates this species as "Near Threatened". It is close to being classified as vulnerable, but does not meet criteria to be considered endangered or vulnerable at this time. This status is based on their current population size and the effects current fishing practices will have on their future population.


Lemon sharks average 8-10 feet (2.45-3.1 m) long. The largest recorded catch was 12 feet long.


Litters consist of about 36 young which are about 18 inches long at birth.

It eats mostly fish (including other sharks), but will also eats mollusks and crustaceans.Catfish, mullet, jacks, croakers, porcupine fish, cowfish, guitarfish, stingrays, eagle rays, crabs and crayfish make up the majority of their diet. In addition, this species will eat sea birds and smaller sharks.

Other Names

requium shark; the lemon shark gets its name because of its pale yellow brown coloring.


Average speed of 5 mph, but when feeding or attacking, it can reach speeds of 12 mph!


Up to 183 kg


As of 2007, it is experiencing a severe population decline and may disappear altogether due to destruction of the mangroves for construction of a golf resort.