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Table of Contents
The lemon shark, which is identifiable by the distinct yellow tone of its skin, occupies the coral keys and mangrove forests along Atlantic Ocean and some part of the Pacific Ocean.
See the fact file below for more information on Lemon Shark or alternatively, you can download our 27-page Lemon Shark worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The lemon shark, with scientific name Negaprion brevirostris is a shark species from the family Carcharhinidae under the order Carcharhiniformes. Sharks belonging to this family are usually migratory and some of these include tiger sharks, bull sharks, lemon sharks, spinner sharks, and grey reef shark.
- The lemon shark is considered to be part of the Vulnerable Species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
- The International Union for the Conservation of Nature is an international organization that deals with the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
- Lemon sharks are often located in shallow subtropical waters and they are known to inhabit and return to specific nursery habitats for breeding.
- The yellow tone of lemon sharks serves as a very good camouflage when they are swimming over the sandy seafloor.
- Usually, lemon sharks reach a length of 7.9 feet to 10.2 feet. In addition, they usually attain a weight of up to 90 kg or 200 lb by adulthood.
- The distinguishing features of a lemon shark include (1) a lemon shark’s first and second dorsal fins are triangular in shape and their sizes are almost the same, (2) the snout of a yellow shark is blunt and shorter than the width of its mouth, and (3) the first dorsal fin of yellow sharks originates behind its pectoral fins.
- Like any other species of shark, lemon sharks also have electroreceptors concentrated in their heads. Electroreceptors provide an ability to certain aquatic vertebrates so they can detect weak electric fields in the water. These electroreceptors found in lemon
sharks are called the ampullae of Lorenzini.
- These receptors allow lemon sharks, which are nocturnal feeders, to sense their prey in the dark.
- Felipe Poey first named and described the lemon shark as Hypoprion brevirostris ini 1868. Poey later renamed it Negaprion brevirostris.
- Lemon sharks are commonly found from New Jersey to the southern
part of Brazil. In addition, they can also be found in eastern Pacific
area, from Baja California and Gulf of California to Ecuador.
- Lemon sharks are often found in the subtropical shallow waters of coral reefs, mangroves, bays, and river mouths.
- Lemon sharks typically pick habitats in warm and shallow waters with a rocky or sandy bottom.
- Warm waters help lemon sharks maintain their optimal metabolic levels.
- Lemon sharks are also believed to avoid areas composed of thick sea grasses since grasses make finding prey a bit difficult.
- Mangrove areas are usually the nursery sites of lemon sharks. Nursery sites are best described as the common area where sharks are usually encountered, these sites are also where sharks tend to remain after birth or areas where they frequently go back to.
- In addition, lemon sharks rarely venture into deeper ocean waters, which makes their chosen area to be a place where they can be easily seen.
- Lemon sharks are nocturnal hunters. For lemon sharks to hunt, they usually make use of the electric signals from their potential prey and they will stalk this potential victim until they feel that it is finally the right time to attack.
- Unlike other species of sharks that bite at their prey in smaller chunks, lemon sharks typically grab their prey whole and then thrash their heads so they can tear its flesh.
- Lemon sharks’ diet typically consists of easy-to-catch prey which are bony fish, small and medium crustaceans, rays, and seabirds.
- Like other species of sharks, lemon sharks also prefer to live in groups which allow them to have enhanced communication, courtship, predatory behavior, and protection.
- Lemon sharks are usually found in groups based on their sizes. They form groups due to their active desire to be social rather than a simple reason of being attracted to the same limited resources that lemon sharks have.
LEMON SHARKS AND HUMANS
- Lemon sharks are mostly harmless to humans. According to the International Shark Attack File, there have only been 10 unprovoked attacks of lemon sharks and they all occurred in Florida and the Caribbean.
- Lemon sharks are also relatively easy to keep in an aquarium setting which makes studying them relatively easy. Lemon sharks are also considered to be one of the most thoroughly researched species of shark in the world.
- Despite the little threat lemon sharks have to humans, humans are more threatening to lemon sharks.
- Like many other species of sharks, lemon sharks are also being hunted for their fins, meat, and skin. In effect, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has tagged the status of lemon sharks as “Near Threatened.”
- Breeding and birth of lemon sharks occur in their nursery sites, mangroves in particular are important to lemon sharks.
- Lemon sharks and viviparous, which means that they give birth to a live offspring just like other mammals.
- The gestation period of lemon sharks usually takes a year or so.
Female lemon sharks give birth to around four (4) to 17 young lemon
sharks. After birth, these young lemon sharks are now fully independent and they will remain in their nursery site for around a few years before they venture into deeper waters.
- Typically, lemon sharks can reproduce once they reach around 12 to 16 years of age.
LEMON SHARKS AS PREDATORS
- Lemon sharks are considered to be apex predators when they are fully grown. Apex predators pertain to predators that exist at the very top of the food chain.
- Lemon shark, being an apex predator, means that they are one of the key indicator species for marine environments. This means that if the population of lemon sharks start to decline, it is a dangerous sign for the rest of the ecosystem.
- Unlike other shark species, lemon sharks are not nearly as torpedo shaped. However, lemon sharks are also not as flat as stingrays. This shape of lemon sharks is mostly associated to the lemon sharks being bottom-dwellers, rather than being pelagic.
- Typically, a lemon shark has a lifespan of around 27 years in the wild.
- Lemon sharks can swim or move at a speed of around 2 mph or around 3.2 km/h.
- Young lemon sharks are called pups.
- Although lemon sharks are less aggressive and they are known to pose little to no threat to humans, it is still not ideal to keep them at home due to their size.
- Lemon sharks generally have poor eyesight which is why they rely to their electroreceptors.
Lemon Shark Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Lemon Shark across 27 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Lemon Shark which is a migratory shark considered to be part of the Vulnerable Species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Lemon Shark Facts
- Body Body
- Let’s Do It!
- Pick Them
- Puzzle Piece
- Nom Nom
- Night Hunters
- Level Up
- Complete It
- Protect Them
- What Did I Learn?
Frequently Asked Questions
Are lemon sharks a threat to humans?
Lemon sharks are mostly harmless to humans. According to the International Shark Attack File, there have only been 10 unprovoked attacks by lemon sharks
Why do they call it a lemon shark?
Named after lemons, the lemon shark has a yellowish tint to it that gets darker along its dorsal fin.
Are lemon sharks extinct?
No. However, they have been declared Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
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Link will appear as Lemon Shark Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 2, 2022
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.