Sicklefin Lemon shark photographs copyright Andy Murch. All rights reserved
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shark, Sharptooth Lemon Shark, Lemon Shark.
A large shark with a stocky
yellowish brown body. Fins falcate with acutely pointed tips. Second dorsal fin almost as
large as first.
Eyes large. Snout broadly rounded with a distinctive small black spot on the
Average length 220-240cm.
An important coastal species. Inshore lagoons, and reef faces near deep water drop offs.
Juveniles stay on very shallow reef flats.
A wide ranging species in the Indian Ocean and western to Central
Pacific. Not present in the eastern Pacific where it is replaced by the common
slow swimmer. Able to rest for extended periods on the substrate.
Recorded litter size 1-14. Gestation period 10-11 months.
Listed as VULNERABLE by the IUCN.
Within Australia, data from the Northern Territory (Lyle et.al.
1984) indicated that catch rates of N.
gill net and long line fishing trials were very low. N.
taken in small quantities (approximately 15 tonnes/yr) in the Western
Australia northern shark fisheries. These fisheries comprise a very small
number of boats (13 licenses, seven active and only three fishing for six
months or more) operating over a very large length of coast. A smaller
quantity of N.
also taken as bycatch in trawl and gillnet fisheries in northern Western
Australia waters. There are likely to be significant areas of unfished
habitat outside the operational ranges of these fisheries (R. McAuley,
Threats from inshore fisheries are high outside Australian
waters, particularly Southeast Asia, where these sharks are captured by
gillnets and longlines. They are particularly susceptible to local depletion
due their very small habitat range and limited movement patterns (Stevens
1984). This species is also likely to be affected by habitat destruction,
particularly in South East Asia. For example, extensive coral reef habitat
destruction (pollution and dynamite fishing), in addition, this species is
known to occur around and within mangrove estuaries, many of which have been
deforested or are heavily populated by humans throughout its range (William
Although they are still recorded, albeit very infrequently
within Indonesia (W. White, pers. comm.), evidence suggests N.
historically more abundant, and have not been seen for several years in some
areas. For example, in a preliminary survey of market catches around Bali,
recorded, and jaws held in the fisheries centre in Jakarta that were several
years old were the only evidence that this species was once caught in the
region (W. White, pers. comm.). Furthermore, evidence of local extinctions
in India and Thailand (L.J.V. Compagno, pers. comm.) indicates that this
species is extremely susceptible to local inshore fisheries.
White Valley, Tahiti, French Polynesia.
The sharptooth lemon shark is easy to identify but is superficially similar to many
other carcharhinids. In the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, it is replaced by
the Atlantic or Common Lemon Shark.
Reaction to divers:
Not known for its aggressiveness around
divers but should not be molested. Sicklefin Lemon sharks are difficult to approach
closely unless in a chumming situation. This species appears to be more
timid than its Atlantic counterpart.
Sicklefin lemon sharks
can be found at a number of popular dive sites in the Pacific. They regularly
show up to shark feeds in Tahiti and Moorea, French Polynesia but chumming for
sharks in FP was banned at the end of 2019.
At Beqa Lagoon there is a Tiger and Bull Shark feed that
sometimes attracts lemons; or they are seen deeper on the same reef.
Pillans, R. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March
2003) 2003. Negaprion
acutidens . The
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2003: e.T41836A10576957.
on 09 February 2020.
Commercially available images: