This month, it’s the turn (excuse the pun) of the Spinner Shark to swim into the spotlight. This shark is famous for its aerial acrobatics. 

The Spinner Shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna) is a species of requiem shark. From the same family as the Oceanic Whitetip, Bull and Silky Sharks, amongst others. This shark is slender-bodied, with a long and narrow pointed snout.  

A highly active shark that often forms schools. The unusual name comes from the way they feed. They swim rapidly upwards through schooling fish with their mouths open. Spinning and snapping in all directions, often shooting out of the water. Sharks can spin up to three times before falling back into the water. They also take part in feeding frenzies. Many sharks will also come together to eat “trash fish” dumped off trawlers.    

Spinner Sharks are highly migratory in the Gulf of Mexico and possibly elsewhere. Moving inshore during spring and summer to feed and mate. They often head south into deeper water for winter.  

Targeted for their meat, fins, liver oil and skin. This species is likely under-reported by fisheries, due to often being misidentified with Blacktip Sharks. . Their use of coastal habitats mean they are also vulnerable to exploitation and habitat degradation. The species is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  

SCIENTIFIC NAME:  Carcharhinus brevipinna 

FAMILY:  Carcharhinidae 

MAXIMUM SIZE:  304cm 

DIET:  Primarily fish. Occasionally stingrays and cephalopods.  

DISTRIBUTION:  Coastal-pelagic. Warm-temperate to tropical Atlantic, Indian and Indo-West Pacific Oceans and Mediterranean Sea. 
 

HABITAT:  Found to 200m. Close inshore (to depths of less than 30m) - off beaches, bays and river mouths. Less common in pelagic habitats offshore. 

CONSERVATION STATUS: Vulnerable 


Banner Image and in-text Image from Matthew Paulson via Flickr

Distribution Map from Wikimedia Commons