A brown-yellow coloration provides the Lemon shark a perfect camouflage over sandy coastal habitats, where they are normally found. The Lemon shark inhabits tropical and sub-tropical environments of the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific oceans.
Belonging to the largest order of sharks, the Ground-Sharks (Carcharhiniformes), and a member of the Requiem-Sharks (Carcharhinidae) family, the Lemon Shark (Negaprion brevirostris) are slow-growing and long-living sharks, getting to their maturity at the age of approximately 12 years when they can reach three meters in length.
The Lemons congregate at special mating grounds exhibiting philopatry, forming nurseries for the pups. The Lemons have polygamous relationships demonstrating multiple paternities, with individuals found with at least three males siring the litter. Lemon’s gestation period is about a year, making the Lemons have biennial reproductive cycles. Lemons are Viviparous, meaning that the mother directly transfers nutrients to her young via a yolk-sac placenta; with a litter size reaching up to 18 pups that are born alive. During the first few months after birth, the Lemon shark pups have belly-buttons.
Lemons are primarily nocturnal predators, and their prime choice of prey is teleost fish, as well as crustaceans and other bottom dwelling organisms such as octopus. Large sharks feed as well on rays and even sea birds. Their main feeding types are food ingestion primarily by ram feeding, food manipulation and hydraulic transport of the food by suction.
The Lemon sharks actively prefer to be social and tend to live in small groups or loose aggregations and have social hierarchies and stable social bonds. Their large brain has been related to their complex social behaviour, suggesting their ability to learn from social interactions, cooperate with other individuals through enhanced communication, courtship, predatory behaviour, and protection.
The lemon shark is targeted by commercial and recreational fishermen along the U.S. Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Lemon shark skin is rough and heavy and has made it preferable among tanneries for the production of leather. Its meat is consumed and is believed to be a delicacy in many cultures (including North America), and the fins fetch a very high price.
Over-fishing has led the lemon shark populations in the western north Atlantic and eastern Pacific Ocean to decline and is considered Near-Threatened on the IUCN Red-List.