Identifying Sharks

Know your local shark species and how to identify them

FWC Sharks, Rays, and Skates

UF Common Sharks of Florida

FWC Shark Species Guide - Dichotomous Key


Most Common Local Species:

Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus)

Bonnethead (Sphyrna tiburo)

Nurse Shark  (Ginglymostoma cirratum)

Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)

Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas)

Lemon Shark (Negaprion brevirostris)

Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) - pictured here

Sandbar Shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus)

Spinner Shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna)


Prohibited Species

The following sharks:

  • cannot be harmed or kept
  • must remain in the water with gills submerged at all times
  • must be released immediately if caught 

Atlantic angel (Squatina dumeril)

Basking (Cetorhinus maximus)

Bigeye sand tiger (Odontaspis noronhai)

Bigeye sixgill (Hexanchus nakamurai)

Bigeye thresher (Alopias vulpinus)

Bignose (Carcharhinus altimus)

Caribbean reef (Carcharhinus perezii) - pictured here

Caribbean sharpnose shark (Rhizoprionodon porosus)

Dusky (Carcharhinus obscurus)

Galapagos (Carcharhinus galapagensis)

Great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran)

Lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris)

Longfin mako (Isurus paucus)

Narrowtooth (Carcharhinus brachyurus)

Night (Carcharhinus signatus)

Sandbar (Carcharhinus plumbeus)

Sand tiger (Odontaspis taurus)

Scalloped hammerhead (Sphryna lewini)

Sevengill (Heptranchias perlo)

Silky (Carcharhinus falciformis)

Sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus)

Smalltail (Carcharhinus porosus)

Smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena)

Spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias)

Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) - pictured here

Whale (Rhincodon typus)

White (Carcharodon carcharias)



Photos: Michael Timm