Atlantic sharpnose sharks get their name from a characteristically long snout, which is longer than the width of the mouth. This species can be recognized by a combination of the following: a long snout that is longer than the width of its mouth, noticeably long labial furrows (indentations or grooves) extending around the corners of its mouth, its first dorsal fin is much larger than its second dorsal fin, its second dorsal fin originates over the mid-point of the base of its anal fin, an inter-dorsal ridge is absent, its rear tip is slender and elongated, and its strongly notched, smooth-edged teeth.
Atlantic sharpnose sharks reside along South Carolina's coast during the summer. As winter approaches, the sharks move offshore into deeper water or southward, returning inshore to mate in the spring and give birth after a 10-11 month gestation period. They are found at depths to 920 feet, but mostly remain in waters less than 32 feet deep.
Male and female Atlantic sharpnose sharks reach maturity in their third to fourth year, with males maturing about one year earlier than females. These sharks feed primarily on small bony fish, worms, shrimp, crabs and mollusks. Bony fish include menhaden, eels, silversides, wrasses, jacks, toadfish and filefish.
(Illustration by Bryan Stone)