Featured Elasmobranch – Whitenose Shark
Category : Featured Elasmobranch
Copyright: John Snow
Nasolamia velox (Gilbert, 1898)
Identification: A slender grey-brown to light brown shark with a lighter ventral surface.
Possesses a very long, conical snout. Eyes large and round with small vertical pupils, and very
large, close-set nostrils. No interdorsal ridge and moderately broad, triangular pectoral fins. A
prominent black spot outlined with white on the upper portion of the snout; lighter ventrally.
Size: Maximum length to at least 165 cm (5.4 ft.); males are immature at 92-106 cm (3.0-3.5 ft.);
males are mature at greater than 106 cm (3.5 ft.); size at birth is about 53 cm (1.6 ft.).
Distribution: Tropical eastern Pacific from Mexico, through Central America to Colombia,
Ecuador and Peru.
Habitat: Occurs on the continental shelf, both inshore and offshore. Depth is usually 15-24
meters (50-80 ft.) or less, occasionally it is found as deep as 192 meters (630 ft.).
Biology: Reproduction is viviparous, with a yolk-sac placenta. Litters are made up of five to six
pups per litter. Reproduction may occur in May through July, as recently born pups have been
reported towards the end of March. Diet includes small bony fishes (anchovies) and crabs.
General Interest: Taken with gillnets and longlines in inshore fisheries for both food and
fishmeal. Historically, considered relatively uncommon to rare where it occurs, although it
has recently being found in Mexican fisheries in higher abundances that usual. Listed as Data
Deficient on the IUCN Red List.
By: James D.S. Knuckey
Pacific Shark Research Center
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories