Onshore, Nearshore, Shallows
60 - 120 pounds
72" - 118"
The Spinner Shark has a long and pointed snout, relatively small dorsal fin, and slender body. The upper part of its body is gray or bronze, while the lower part is white. They are often mistaken for a blacktip shark because both species look similar with having fins with a gray or blacktip. They get their name from its feeding maneuvering. They hunt schools of small fish by swimming through them with their mouths wide open, all while spinning out of the water. They are capable of leaping speeds of 46 mph. This species of requiem shark is from the genus Carcharhinus which are known as ground sharks. Their characteristics include five gill slits, moveable eyelids that protect their eyes from injury, two spineless dorsal fins, an anal fin, and an upper jaw filled with sharp teeth located behind the eyes.
The biggest Spinner Shark recorded is 9.8 and 200 feet, but on average, the adults are 6.6 feet and weigh 123 pounds. Spinners can live up to 20 years old.
Commercial fishermen mistakenly target Spinner Sharks in the southeastern United States and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. When caught, the meat is often sold as the Blacktip Shark. Because the two species are very similar, the threatened Spinner is likely to be underreported.
Spinner Sharks are aptly-named for their out-of-the water leaping and rotating up to 3 times in the air before falling back into the water.
Like other members of this shark species, the Spinner Shark is viviparous and will give birth to live young. The average litter size is 3 to 15 pups that will quickly move into shallow water estuaries where there is plenty of food and few predators.
Spinners have poor eyesight and a strong sense of smell. They are smell hunters.
Spinner Shark's teeth are narrow and triangular on the upper and lower jaw. Though Spinner Shark's teeth are very strong to cut through fish, smaller sharks, and squid, they are not considered dangerous to humans.
Spinner sharks mainly feed on different bony fish like