An abundant, coastal, tropical and subtropical shark that inhabits nearshore waters of both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Flordia. Often seen lying motionless on the bottom. Preferred habitats are coral reefs, rocks, and mangrove islands.
Feeds mainly on bottom invertebrates such as spiny lobsters, shrimps, crabs, sea urchins, squid, octopi, and marine molluscs; also feeds on some fish species, especially grunts.
Gives birth to live young. Litters contain 20-50 pups. Size at birth about 1 foot. Mating aggregations reported in Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas, often in very shallow water. Juveniles utilize shallow coral reefs, rocky areas, grass flats, and mangrove islands as nursery habitat.
Maximum size about 9 feet. Matures at approximately 7 feet and is estimated to live 24+ years.
Valued in the Caribbean for its high quality hide, but is considered a nuisance species in most North American longline fisheries with fins and meat of little value. Does well in captivity and has been used in many physiological and immunological studies. This sluggish bottom-dwelling shark has been involved in only a few attacks on humans, most of which were provoked.