BULL SHARK

Sport Fishing - - FISH FACTS - — Ray Wald­ner

I’m hop­ing you can help ID this shark that we caught off Is­lam­orada, Flor­ida. Is it a bull? The pec­toral and dor­sal fins over­lap, so that’s what I’m guess­ing. We don’t catch all that many sharks, so I’m not sure on the species. Den­nis Fon­seca Mi­ami, Flor­ida

Be glad you were in a boat when you took those pho­tos, Den­nis. Although sharks are far from the mind­less killing ma­chines they are some­times por­trayed as be­ing, you did catch a po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous species. As you sug­gested, it’s a bull shark, Car­charhi­nus leu­cas. I’m bas­ing this ID on the rel­a­tive po­si­tion of the shark’s dor­sal and pec­toral fins, the lack of a ridge be­tween its dor­sal fins, and the con­vex shape of the lead­ing edge of its first dor­sal fin. Its rel­a­tively tall dor­sal fin; short, broad snout; and small eyes are also char­ac­ter­is­tics of bull sharks. Bull sharks are found world­wide in warm waters, and may en­ter brack­ish and even fresh wa­ter; the Lake Nicaragua shark of South Amer­ica and Zam­bezi River shark of Africa are, in ac­tu­al­ity, bull sharks. Bull sharks are re­puted to have the high­est testos­terone lev­els of any an­i­mal, and some shark re­searchers con­sider the bull shark to be the most dan­ger­ous shark species. Bulls can reach lengths ap­proach­ing 12 feet and weigh well over 700 pounds.

Bull shark

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