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Spinner Shark

Carcharhinus brevipinna

FAMILY: Carcharhinidae

ALSO KNOWN AS: great blacktipped shark, long-nose grey shark

CONSERVATION STATUS: Vulnerable (worldwide)

RANGE: North Atlantic and southern Atlantic, found worldwide in tropical waters.

LENGTH: 250 cm (approx. 8 feet) total length

WEIGHT: 55 kg (121.3 lbs)

Illustration ©Marc Dando

Photograph ©Wix Stock


RANGE: It is most common from North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico.

HABITAT: Coastal to open ocean waters in warm-temperate to tropical seas. May be observed chasing baitfish in the surf, where it will occasionally leap out of the water, spinning as it does. In the Western North Atlantic, the species seldom ventures past Long Island, though as water temperatures rise, researchers expect to see a northeastern range extension.


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IDENTIFICATION: Slender body with brown or bronze coloration on dorsal side and white underside. Area of the back between dorsal fins is smooth and lacks any ridge, such as the interdorsal ridge observed in the dusky shark, Carcharhinus obscurus. Conical snout is as long or longer than the width of the mouth. First dorsal fin originates over or just behind the rear tips of the pectoral fins. Easily confused with the blacktip shark, Carcharhinus limbatus. In the Atlantic, the blacktip shark counterintuitively lacks a black tip on its anal fin. The spinner shark has a black tip on its anal fin.

INTERESTING FACTSSmall, coastal fishes constitute the bulk of the species’ diet. Pregnant females will come close to shore to give birth in nursery areas (in southern states of the US east coast), while males tend to favor slightly deeper waters. A typical litter size is between 6 \ and 8 pups. Despite its commonality, habitat use and migratory movements are not understood in great detail.


Vulnerable to extinction; One fish of at least 54 inches fork length (FL) is allowed per vessel per trip. Federal Highly Migratory Species fishing permit required in federal waters.

Citation: IUCN

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