TIGER SHARKS: This shark gets its common name from the stripes on its side. The spots and dashes they have when they are young, turn into stripes when they get older. When they get over 12’, the stripes tend to fade on some animals, but there is still no mistaking this large, bulky predator. It has a massive head, blunt snout, large dark eyes, and a very large mouth. These sharks are global, found almost everywhere and can be seen in deep and very shallow water during all hours of the day. Its diet is probably the most varied of all sharks, eating anything from bony fishes, turtles, birds, and crustaceans to garbage. Generally, they are quite timid around divers, staying off in the distance only coming in when they have time to get comfortable with a situation.
HAMMERHEAD SHARKS: This magnificent and powerful predator can reach lengths of up to 18’ and can be found from shallow waters to the open ocean. They feed on a variety of bony fish, but have a distinct liking for stingrays. This species seems to be a solitary animal and are rarely seen with another. These are some of the most beautiful, prehistoric sharks in the ocean.
LEMON SHARKS: These solitary animals are seen on deeper reefs, but recent findings have shown a migration of sorts in northern Palm Beach County in numbers up to 50+. In January and February, when the water is colder, in the low 70's, they have been seen lying in the sand very close together. Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly what they are doing there. It is most likely courting or mating related. It is however a unique and amazing spectacle. Until 2000 it had never been heard of anywhere in the world. Scientist are now trying to get this area zoned "off limits" to fishing and especially lemon shark fishing during this aggregation and protect the migrating sharks who come here as they most likely make up a large population of lemon sharks on the east coast. Lemon sharks get their name from their light coloration. Males seem to be thinner than the females who can reach over 10’ in length and be very bulky. They have a pointy snout and small eyes as well as two dorsal fins, like a nurse or sand tiger shark.
CARIBBEAN REEF SHARKS: This is the shark most people envision when you say the word shark. A common shark found in healthy reef environments that can sometimes be found offshore. It can grow to about 9’, but usually averages in lengths of 4’-6’. It is found throughout the Caribbean, Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico. These sharks eat a variety of bony fishes. They are powerful and impressive predators. They are easy to identify, with their round, blunt snout. Their bodies can vary from slender to heavy set depending on size and body color ranges from pale to middle gray with white underbellies. They are smooth, sleek sharks that are amazingly agile and beautiful to watch. You can see this shark year-round.
BULL SHARKS: Thought to be extremely aggressive, you will find as a scuba diver, that they tend to stay far away from you at most times. On occasion, one may get curious and come in for a closer look, but rarely. They are found on deeper artificial reefs and wrecks. The bull shark is a very bulky, massively built shark with a blunt round snout, small eyes and no real conspicuous fin or body markings. Think of a wrestler or body builder, they look like they have no neck and the same goes for a bull shark. They have an extremely large girth, not at all sleek looking like a Caribbean reef shark.
NURSE SHARKS: Very common in Florida, the Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean, these sharks have a very large second dorsal fin, long paddle shaped caudle fin and very small dotty eyes. They are tan in color and grow to lengths of 9’-10’. They can be found in shallow waters, reefs, rubble bottoms, and are mostly seen lying on the bottom during the day as they are nocturnal by nature. They feed on crabs, shrimps, lobsters, and octopuses along with fish. They are very docile when left alone.