Welcome to the Atlantic Shark Institute's Sharkpedia! Here you can explore some of the sharks that inhabit the Atlantic Ocean as well as taking a look at some of the research attached to each species.
The following is a guide to sharks regularly encountered off Southern New England and Long Island. It includes species that are most likely to be observed by bathers or anglers. Many fascinating deep-water sharks inhabit New England as well, and New Englanders do occasionally see more southern specimens when the Gulf Stream shifts. However, these deep- water species and occasional visitors are seldom observed by recreational maritime enthusiasts.
Shark identification can be tricky but is far from impossible. Scientists examine sharks by their coloration, size, but most importantly, their fins. Shark fins vary greatly in shape, size, color and placement on the sharks body and examining them can give you clues to identifying the species.
Below is a chart showcasing some of the terms used to note shark fins. Note the total length and the fork length. Fork length refers to the shark's length from snout to the vertex of the caudal (tail) fin. Total length is measured from the snout to the end of the tail fin. This can help when measuring sharks with extremely long tails (such as thresher shark species).
Range maps help viewers and scientists examine the total "spread" of the species across the world. Range dictates if the shark species is present in the area.
With the changing climates, scientists are noticing that range maps are changing as sharks adjust their placement with the ocean's rising temperatures. Most of the range maps you will see in this guide are sources from the IUCN.