Sweet And Gentle
Lemon sharks are normally non-aggressive, and gentle towards humans. This makes them a favorite subject of shark enthusiasts, photographers, and divers. Normally, if a bite from a lemon shark does occur, it is a result of the fish becoming spooked. This tactic is used by many different types of animals and fish. For instance, if you back a strange cat into a corner, it will likely scratch, or bite you. Humans that become scared and fearful for their lives, will also take on a survival mentality. No deaths have ever been recorded from lemon shark bites, so upon making an opinion on sharks, one should take survival mentality into account.
Negaprion brevirostris is the scientific name for lemon sharks, however, they are referred to as lemon sharks due to their appearance. Bright yellow, or brown pigmentation, and color, are contributing factors in naming the fish after a lemon. Lemon sharks normally grow to around 11 feet (3.35 m), and weigh in at an average of 420 pounds (190.5 kg). Still with all of this power, the predator is able to remain gentle around humans. This characteristic is often lost within humans, as we can be cruel at times. Anytime that anyone is thinking about getting up close with a dangerous creature, regardless of how gentle, the utmost respect must be given to that creature.
The unique colors of the lemon shark makes it easily distinguishable from the other species. When comparing shark species, this is not always the easiest of tasks. For example, basking sharks are often mistaken for great white sharks. Lemon sharks are yellow on the upper part of their bodies, like stated above, and their underside is a shade of white. Being able to distinguish the difference between species, could be the difference between meeting a gentle creature, or a ferocious predator. Therefore, this lemon shark fact should make you smile, instead of puckering, as if you had eaten a sour lemon.
Who Does Not Enjoy Tropical Waters?
Tropical, and coastal waters are preferred by lemon sharks. They usually swim no deeper than around 260 ft (80 m), and they can be found in areas in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Lemon sharks can often be found in shallow waters along the coast, bays, coral reefs, and sometimes at the mouths of rivers. Because these sharks are so sociable, and able to be kept in captivity for extended periods of time, much research has been done on them. This has allowed shark enthusiasts around the world to prosper from this remarkable research.
Bottom dwelling is not always a bad thing. In modern society, bottom dwelling is usually a bad thing, however, lemon sharks thrive from this technique. Rays, smaller fish, and even crustaceans are part of their diet. By swimming, and hunting in shallow waters, lemon sharks are able to churn the sand on the bottom of the ocean to find prey. This allows lemon sharks to easily find food, and allows their species to prosper.
Pups And More Pups
Female lemon sharks give birth to live pups, ranging in number between 5 and 20. The entire birthing cycle lasts for approximately a year, and pups stay in shallow waters until they mature. Once the female gives birth, the pups are left to survive on their own. However, the female gives birth in shallow waters, to give the pups the best chance to survive.
Maturity usually occurs in lemon sharks between 10 and 15 years of age. During this time, they usually migrate out into deeper waters. During this migration, they still remain within the 260 ft (80 m) depth range.
Conservation Is Key
Although lemon sharks are not endangered, and they have thrived quite well over the years, dwindling numbers in recent years, have sparked concerns. Just like with any other species, conservation is a key to survival. The waters around The Bahamas have become a shark sanctuary for species, such as the lemon shark.
The Bahamas are known for shark tourism, so keeping a healthy balance between humans, and other species, is important. The warm waters are inviting for divers, swimmers, photographers, and a variety of different sharks. Bull sharks, lemon sharks, and nurse sharks are a few species that one might encounter, but the important thing is that the sharks are protected. Many other sanctuaries have also opened around the globe, providing much needed protection to different shark species.
These safe havens ensure that sharks are protected, but it also protects the ecosystem. Sharks provide valuable services to their ecosystem, which also provides a certain balance to that ecosystem. Fish populations may become overpopulated if sharks were to go extinct. This would have an impact on humans because the quality of fish would go down. Sharks, including the lemon shark, feed on sick, weak, and even injured prey. This helps to keep fish populations healthy, happy, and a valuable commodity for humans.
Lemon sharks have a structured hierarchy system in place. Factors that contribute to a lemon sharks placement in the system are size, and sex. The entire species is extremely sociable, and they can be seen in groups quite often, mainly for the purpose of hunting. This allows bigger prey to be hunted, resulting in enough food for the entire group to eat.
Survival of the fittest is always in place, and the bigger, stronger, and faster that a lemon shark is, results in them being higher in social status. However, being gentle in nature, lemon sharks usually avoid conflict. They are usually not aggressive towards other sharks, or humans, which is why so much research has been obtained from them.
Lemon sharks have allowed us to learn all types of valuable information, about different species of sharks, which has unraveled many of the mysteries surrounding these magnificent fish. Although many mysteries have been solved, there are many more that need to be addressed, and the lemon shark helps us in this task.