Lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) are similar in size and shape to the sand tiger sharks that also inhabit The Maritime Aquarium’s “Ocean Beyond the Sound” exhibit. But the lemon shark’s snout is more blunt, its teeth aren’t as visible and its pectoral – or side – fins are bigger. (Lemon sharks also can rest on the bottom; something the sand tigers rarely do.)
Lemon sharks have a hint of yellow on their bellies (hence the name). They grow to 10 feet long and range in coastal waters from New Jersey down to Brazil.
Lemon shark babies take 10 to 12 months to develop within the female before being born. And then it will take six to seven years before those pups reach sexual maturity to have their own babies. These are common numbers for many shark species. And that’s why – even if we totally stopped catching sharks today – it will take a long time for shark numbers to rebound.