Members of the Echeneidae family, remoras and sharksuckers are slim fish that have a flat sucking disk on the top of their heads. They attach themselves usually to sharks or other fish—including marlin, grouper, and rays—but sometimes to the bottoms of boats or other objects. These hitch-hikers take effortless rides with their hosts, feeding on parasitic copepods found on the hosts’ bodies and gill chambers.

Developed from the first dorsal fin, the sucking disk consists of a series of ridges and spaces that create a vacuum between the remora and the surface to which it attaches. By sliding backward, the remora can increase the suction, or it can release itself by swimming forward.


A diverse and important group of marine fish, rockfish are members of the Scorpaenidae family, which includes 310 species generically characterized as scorpionfish. Rockfish may be referred to as rock cod, sea bass, snapper, and ocean perch because of their resemblance to these species or to the quality of their fillets, but the latter species are not related to rockfish.


Adult rockfish range in size from 5 to 41 inches, but most species grow to between 20 and 24 inches in length. The rockfish is characterized by bony plates or spines on the head and the body, a large mouth, and pelvic fins attached forward near the pectoral fins.

Black Rockfish (Sebastes melanops)

A member of the Scorpaenidae family, the black rockfish is widely distributed in the eastern Pacific. It is an excellent food fish.


The body of the black rockfish is oval or egg shaped and compressed. The head has a steep upper profile that is almost straight; the mouth is large and the lower jaw projects slightly. The eyes are moderately large. The color is brown to black on the back, paler on the sides, and dirty white below.

Copper Rockfish (Sebastes caurinus)

The copper rockfish is a member of the Scorpaenidae family and is a widely distributed, hardy species. It often appears in aquarium displays.


The body of the copper rockfish is moderately deep and compressed. The head is large, with a slightly curved upper profile; the mouth is large, and the lower jaw projects slightly. Its coloring is copper brown to orange tinged with pink. The back two-thirds of the sides along the lateral line are light, the belly is white, and there are usually two dark bands radiating backward from each eye.

Yelloweye Rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus)

Also a member of the Scorpaenidae family, the yelloweye rockfish is known to many anglers as “red snapper,” although it bears only a slight resemblance to a true snapper. It is one of many red to yellow species in the eastern Pacific, however, and resembles several others, making identification difficult. The large size and the excellent flesh of this species make it a favorite among anglers.


The yelloweye rockfish is orange-red to orange-yellow in body coloration; it has bright-yellow irises and black pupils and a raspy ridge above the eyes. The fins may be black at the margins.

Roosterfish (Nematistius pectoralis)

The roosterfish is a superb light-tackle gamefish and a member of the Carangidae family of jacks, so named for the comb of long dorsal fin spines that extends far above the body of the fish. It has been exploited at a local level because of its excellent quality as a food fish and is marketed fresh.


A striking, iridescent fish, the roosterfish is characterized by seven long, threadlike dorsal fin spines, which are found even on young fish. This comb stands erect when the roosterfish is excited, as when threatened, but ordinarily, the fin remains lowered in a sheath along the back. There are also two dark, curved stripes on the body and a dark spot at the base of the pectoral fin.

Blue Runner (Caranx crysos)

The blue runner is a small, spunky member of the Carangidae family that is valued as bait for big-game fishing. It is an excellent food fish and is marketed fresh, frozen, and salted.


The body of the blue runner is bluish-green to brassy, silvery, or light olive above. There is a black, some what elongated spot near the upper end of the gill cover, and there may be faint bluish bars on the body. A characteristic feature is the blackish shading on the tips of the tail fins. The blue runner is easily distinguished from the crevalle jack because it lacks the dark blotch found on the pectoral fins of that fish.

Rainbow Runner (Elagatis bipinnulata)

A member of the Carangidae family of jacks, the rainbow runner does not look like other jacks because it is a much slimmer, more streamlined fish. It is also an excellent food fish, with firm, white flesh, marketed fresh and salted/dried. In Japan, the rainbow runner is cooked with a special sauce or eaten raw and is considered a delicacy.


The rainbow runner is blue-green above and white or silver below, with a yellow or pink cast. On both sides, there is a broad, dark-blue, horizontal stripe from the snout to the base of the tail; a narrow, pale-blue stripe immediately below it that runs through each eye; a pale to brilliant-yellow stripe below that; and then another narrow pale-blue stripe.

Sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus)

With its characteristic large dorsal fin and superlative aerial ability, the sailfish is arguably the most striking member of the Istiophoridae family of billfish. Although present taxonomy suggests that the Atlantic and the Pacific sailfish are the same species, some experts are not yet convinced.

It has long been believed that Indo-Pacific specimens of sailfish attain a much greater size than do their Atlantic counter-parts (and this is reflected in record catches), but a recent study of size data from the Japanese longline fishery provided evidence that eastern Atlantic specimens (identified by some ichthyologists as I. albicans) can attain much larger sizes than previously recorded.

Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar)

The only salmon in the Salmonidae family that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and its tributaries, the Atlantic salmon has been coveted for its excellent flesh since recorded history.


Compared to the size of its body, a mature Atlantic salmon has a small head. Its body is long and slim, and in adults the caudal or tail fin is nearly square. Individuals that return to spawn prematurely (called grilse) are mostly males and have slightly forked tails. At sea, the Atlantic salmon is dark blue on top of its head and back; its sides are a shiny silver, and the belly is white.

Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

The chinook salmon is one of the most important sportfish and commercial fish in the world, especially, and historically, to the Pacific coast of North America, where this and other salmonids have long had great cultural and food significance. It is the largest member of the Salmonidae family and both the largest and the least-abundant member of the Pacific salmon genus Oncorhynchus.

Pacific stocks of chinook, as well as of other Pacific salmonids, however, have suffered greatly throughout large portions of their range due to dams, other habitat alterations, pollution, and excessive commercial fishing. Some chinook runs in the Pacific Northwest are threatened or endangered.

Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

The late spawning run of the chum salmon severely affects its popularity as a sportfish. The frequently used name “dog salmon” reportedly originates with its prevalent use as dog food among aboriginals.


In the ocean, the slender, somewhat compressed, chum salmon is metallic greenish-blue on the back and silvery on the sides and has a fine black speckling on the upper sides and the back but no distinct black spots.

Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)

A member of the Salmonidae family, the coho salmon is an extremely adaptable fish that occurs in nearly all of the same waters as does the larger chinook salmon, but it is a more spectacular fighter and the most acrobatic of the Pacific salmon. It is one of North America’s most important sport- and commercial fish, especially to the Pacific coast of North America.


The body of the coho salmon is elongate and somewhat compressed, and the head is conical. For most of its life (in saltwater or lake, as well as newly arrived in a spawning river), this species is a dark metallic blue or blue-green above, becoming silvery on the sides and the belly. There are small black spots on the back and on the upper lobe of the caudal fin.

Pink Salmon

An important commercial catch, the pink salmon is the smallest North American member of the Pacific salmon group of the Salmonidae family.


The pink salmon is known as the “humpback” or “humpy” because of its distorted, extremely humpbacked appearance, which is caused by the very pronounced, laterally flattened hump that develops on the backs of adult males before spawning. This hump appears between the head and the dorsal fin and develops by the time the male enters the spawning stream, as does a hooked upper jaw, or kype.

Salmon, Sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka)

A member of the Salmonidae family, sockeye leave the ocean to spawn in freshwater, as do other Pacific salmon, but they enter only those rivers having lakes at their headwaters. The erection of dams and the alteration of habitat, however, as well as commercial overfishing and other factors, have caused an overall decline in sockeye stocks and the loss of some specific runs.


The sockeye is the slimmest and most streamlined of Pacific salmon, particularly immature and pre-spawning fish, which are elongate and somewhat laterally compressed. The sockeye is metallic green-blue on the back and the top of the head, iridescent silver on the sides, and white or silvery on the belly. Some fine black speckling may occur on the back, but large spots are absent.

Longfin Sanddab (Citharichthys xanthostigma)

A member of the Bothidae family of left-eyed flatfish, the longfin sanddab is a small but common bottom-fishing catch by anglers, particularly in Southern California.


The body of the longfin sanddab is oblong and compressed. The head is deep, the eyes are large and located on the left side, and the mouth is large. The color is uniformly dark with rust-orange or white speckles, and the pectoral fin is black on the eyed side. The blind side is white.

Pacific Sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus)

A member of the Bothidae family of left-eyed flatfish, the Pacific sanddab is an excellent food fish that has both commercial significance and a popular sportfishing following. This species is often listed on the seafood menus of California restaurants and is viewed by some as a delicacy.


The body of the Pacific sanddab is oblong and compressed. The head is deep, and the eyes are large and on the left side. The color is light brown, mottled with yellow and orange on the eyed side and white on the blind side.

Sand Lance

Resembling small eels, sand lance are burrowing fish that are important as food for many gamefish. They are excellent to eat when prepared in the style of whitebait. Quantities of sand lance are often dug up in the intertidal zone by people seeking clams.


Sand lance are small, slim, elongated, and round-bodied fish with no teeth, usually no pelvic fins, no fin spines, and forked tails. Although the sand lance has a long soft dorsal fin, it does not have a first dorsal fin. The body has sloping fleshy folds, and there is a distinct fleshy ridge along the lower side; the straight lateral line is close to the base of the dorsal fin.

Pacific Sardine (Sardinops caeruleus)

Unlike the young of herring, which are often marketed as sardines, the Pacific sardine is a true sardine. Once one of the most important commercial fish along the Pacific coast, the Pacific sardine population has been depleted by pollution and overfishing. Most commercial fish are canned or processed to make fish meal, fertilizer, or oil; Pacific sardines are not marketed fresh.


The Pacific sardine has an elongated body, a compressed head, and a small mouth with no teeth. It is silvery with dark blue on the back, shades of purple and violet along the sides, and black spots along both the sides and the back. It can be distinguished from the typical herring by the absence of a sharp ridge of scales (which is found down the midline of the belly of a herring) and by vertical ridges on its gill covers.

Sargo (Anisotremus davidsonii)

The sargo is the largest of the Pacific grunts and is commonly caught incidentally by anglers fishing for other species, primarily during the summer.


The body of the adult sargo is a compressed oval shape, and the back is elevated. The head has a steep, straight upper profile and a small mouth. The sargo’s coloring is a metallic silver, with a grayish tinge on the back. It is silvery below, and there is a distinguishing dark vertical bar running across the body from the dorsal fin to the base of the pectoral fin. Occasionally, sargo are entirely bright yellow, orange, or pure white.


Abundant offshore fish, sauries are members of the four species Scomberesocidae family. They have only moderately elongated jaws that are beaklike, and they are easily distinguished from needlefish and halfbeaks by the five to seven finlets behind the dorsal and the anal fins, as in mackerel. Sauries as a group have small scales, relatively small mouth openings, small teeth, and no swim bladders. These relatively abundant fish are heavily preyed upon by tuna, marlin, bluefish, and other predators.

The Atlantic saury (Scomberesox saurus) travels in schools containing thousands of fish. They are commonly attacked by a variety of predators that sometimes drive the schools into shallow nearshore waters. Often a whole school will rise simultaneously from the sea and skitter across the surface (for this reason, commercial fishermen refer to them as “skippers”). They are sometimes caught commercially when abundant, but they are not fished for regularly.

California Scorpionfish (Scorpaena guttata)

The California scorpionfish is an excellent food fish and the most venomous member of the scorpionfish family. It has venom glands that are attached to the dorsal, the pelvic, and the anal fin spines, and if these spines penetrate the skin, an intense and excruciating pain in the area of the wound occurs almost immediately.

If there are multiple punctures, the wound can induce shock, respiratory distress, or abnormal heart action and sometimes leads to hospitalization of the victim. The California scorpionfish is often called a sculpin but is not a member of the sculpin family.


The Cottidae family of sculpins is made up of more than 300 species, most of which are marine, but many of which also occur in freshwaters throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They are important as food for larger fish and as predators of the eggs and the young of gamefish. Bottom-dwelling fish of cold waters, sculpins live in shelf waters and in rocky tidal pools. A few species of larger sculpins inhabit depths of up to 4,200 feet in saltwater.

Sculpins are characterized by wide bodies that taper to slender, compressed tails. They may be unscaled or may have spiny prickles or platelike scales, although the development of these varies within species, depending on habitat, and is not necessarily useful in identification.

Scup (Stenotomus chrysops)

A member of the Sparidae family of porgies, which includes about 112 species, the scup is most commonly known as “porgy” and is a common angling catch along the eastern United States. It is a fine food fish that has had significant commercial interest. Primarily caught through trawling, it was overexploited and at low population levels throughout the 1990s.


Somewhat nondescript, the scup is rather dusky colored, being brownish and almost silvery, with fins that are mottled brown. It has a deep body, about the same depth all the way to the caudal peduncle, where it narrows abruptly. The fins are spiny. The caudal fin is lunate (crescent-shaped). The front teeth are incisor-form, and there are two rows of molars in the upper jaw.

Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata)

Black sea bass are members of the Serranidae family and are popular sportfish.


The black sea bass has a relatively stout body that is three times as long (excluding the tail) as it is deep. It also has a noticeably high back, a flat-topped head, a slightly pointed snout, and a sharp spine near the apex of each gill cover. The elongated top ray of the tail sticks out past the rest of the tail and is the most distinguishing feature of this fish.

The body color ranges from black to gray or brownish-gray. The dorsal fins are marked by several slanting white spots, and there also appear to be thin stripes on the sides, with wide vertical bands overlapping the stripes on some fish and a large dark spot on the last dorsal spine. The upper and the lower edges of the tail are white, as are the outer edges of the dorsal and the anal fins.

Giant Sea Bass (Stereolepis gigas)

The giant sea bass, a member of the Serranidae family, is not only a formidable fish in size, it is also renowned for its lengthy life span.


The body of the giant sea bass is elongate and has dorsal spines that fit into a groove on the back. Greenish-brown or black, the giant sea bass has black or transparent fins, with the exception of the ventral fins, which appear lighter because of a white membrane between the black spines. There is usually a white patch on the throat and underneath the tail, and the membranes between the rays are also light.

White Seabass (Atractoscion nobilis)

A member of the Sciaenidae family, the popular white seabass belongs to the grouping of weakfish or corvina and is not a true bass or sea bass. White seabass stocks have struggled due to overfishing by commercial gillnets, which are now illegal in California for this species.


The body of the white seabass is elongate and somewhat compressed. There is a characteristic raised ridge along the middle of the belly, between the vent and the base of the pelvic fins. The head is pointed and slightly flattened. The mouth is large, with a row of small teeth in the roof and a projecting lower jaw.

Sea Robin

Sea robins are mostly tropical and subtropical fish of the Triglidae family, characterized by split pectoral fins that consist of stiff separate rays on the lower half and broad, soft, winglike rays on the upper half. The upper rays are not as large as in the similar-looking flying gurnard but are used for the same purpose—swimming. The lower rays are used to find food by sifting through debris and turning over rocks.

Sea robins also use their pelvic and pectoral fins to “walk” across the bottom as they search for fish, shrimp, squid, clams, and crabs to satisfy their insatiable appetites. They are often brightly colored, are capable of making loud noises by vibrating muscles attached to their air bladders, and inhabit moderately deep waters. These fish spawn throughout the summer, their eggs float on the surface, and the young grow quickly during the first year.

Sand Seatrout

A member of the Sciaenidae family (drum and croaker), the sand seatrout is a small and frequently caught fish. Found primarily in the Gulf of Mexico, it supports a minor commercial and sportfishing industry. It is closely related to the weakfish of the Atlantic coast.


Its coloring is pale yellow on the back and silver to white below, without any real defined spots. A young sand seatrout has a cloudy back, sometimes forming crossbands. The inside of the mouth is yellow. There are 10 to 12 soft rays in the anal fin. It does not have any chin barbels and can be distinguished from the silver seatrout by the presence of 10 anal rays, the silver seatrout having only 8 or 9.

Silver Seatrout (Cynoscion nothus)

A member of the Sciaenidae family (drum and croaker), the silver seatrout is smaller than other seatrout and generally similar in body shape. It is often misidentified with the spotted seatrout.


Its coloring is pale straw or walnut on the back and silver to white below, without any real defined spots, although faint diagonal lines may be present on the upper body. There are 8 to 9 rays in the anal fin, distinguishing it from the sand seatrout, which has 10 rays. The silver seatrout has large eyes and a short snout, no chin barbel, and one to two prominent canine teeth usually present at the tip of the upper jaw. The lower half of the tail is longer than the upper half.

Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus)

The spotted seatrout is a member of the Sciaenidae family of drum and croaker. It belongs to the genus Cynoscion (weakfish and seatrout), which is named for its members' tender mouths, from which hooks tear easily. Considered an exceptionally valuable commercial fish and an even more valuable sportfish to anglers, it is intensely pursued throughout its range, especially in the Gulf of Mexico.

Most Gulf and Atlantic coast states have experienced a decline in spotted seatrout populations due to overfishing and exploitation, and fishing is strictly controlled; in some areas, the cessation of gillnetting is leading to stock recoveries and is providing optimism for the future.


Sennets are members of the Sphyraenidae family of barracuda, although they are smaller and less wide-ranging than barracuda are. Northern sennets (Sphyraena borealis) grow to a maximum of 18 inches; they occur in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to southern Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.

Southern sennets (S. picudilla) are similar, occurring in Bermuda, Florida, and the Bahamas south to Uruguay; also known as picuda china, they have more commercial relevance than the northern sennet and are found near the surface, sometimes in large schools.

Alabama Shad (Alosa alabamae)

This member of the Clupeidae family of herring and shad is an anadromous species virtually ignored by anglers. It does have some commercial significance, however.


A silvery fish like its other relatives, the Alabama shad has a large terminal mouth, with upper and lower jaws of almost equal length. Its tongue has a single median row of small teeth, there is no lateral line, the posterior of the dorsal fin lacks an elongated slender filament, and there are 18 or fewer anal rays. In general, it is nearly identical to the larger-growing American shad, but an adult fish has 42 to 48 gill rakers on the lower limb of the first gill arch.

American Shad (Alosa sapidissima)

The American shad is an anadromous member of the Clupeidae family of herring and shad and is highly regarded as a gamefish in coastal rivers.


The laterally compressed, fairly deep body of the American shad is silvery white, with some green to dark blue along the back, frequently with a metallic shine. The coloring darkens slightly when the fish enters freshwater to spawn. There is a large black spot directly behind the top of the gill cover, followed by several spots that become smaller and less distinct toward the tail; sometimes there are up to three rows of these dark spots, one under the other.

Hickory Shad (Alosa mediocris)

A member of the Clupeidae family of herring and shad, the hickory shad is of significant recreational interest, being a friskier, although smaller, cousin of the American shad.


Gray-green on the back and fading to silver on the side, the hickory shad has clear fins, with the exception of the dusky dorsal and caudal fins, which are occasionally black edged. It has a strongly oblique mouth, a lower jaw that projects noticeably beyond its upper jaw, and a cheek that is longer than or about equal to its depth.


Today there are at least 370 species of sharks worldwide. Like all fish, sharks are vertebrates, but ichthyologists place them in a separate class from most bony fish because the shark’s skeleton is made of cartilage instead of bone. Sharks also have five to seven gill slits on each side of the head, allowing each gill to vent separately into the surrounding water. Bony fish, in contrast, have on each side of their bodies one gill opening that is covered by a bony plate called the operculum.

Sharks also lack the gas-filled swim bladders of most bony fish. Instead, sharks have evolved a different means of maintaining buoyancy: They have extremely large livers that contain oils that are lighter than water. These oils, coupled with the cartilaginous skeleton, make sharks almost neutrally buoyant.

Atlantic Angel Shark (Squatina dumeril)

The Atlantic angel shark is frequently mistaken for a ray because of its flattened, triangular body. This fish is unlike a ray, however, as its gill slits are lateral and create a deep indentation between its head and its pectoral fin.

The Atlantic angel shark is brownish- to bluish-gray on the back and whitish on the belly, and it has a mid-dorsal row of denticles. The large mouth is terminal, and each tooth has a broad base with a long, pointed central cusp. The pectoral fins are not attached to the body at the rear, and Atlantic angels swim without making much use of them.

Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus)

The second largest shark in existence today, growing to 45 feet, the basking shark is a member of the mackerel shark family and is basically harmless to humans.

A dark gray or slate-gray fish fading to a paler shade on its belly, the basking shark gets its name from its habit of swimming slowly at the surface. As a plankton feeder, it will not take bait, being too large for sportfishing anyway.

Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus)

The blacktip shark reaches just over 8 feet in length; the alltackle world record is a 270-pound, 9-ounce fish taken off Kenya in 1995.

It is dark bluish-gray on the back and whitish below, with a distinctive silver-white stripe on each flank; young fish are generally paler. As the name implies, it is black-tipped on the insides of the pectoral fins, as well as on the dorsal, the anal, and the lower lobe of the caudal fins in young fish. This shading may be faint, especially on the first dorsal fin, and it fades with growth.

Blue Shark (Prionace glauca)

A member of the requiem shark family, the blue shark is very slender and streamlined, with a long and pointed snout that is much longer than the width of its mouth.

Appropriately, it is a deep, brilliant blue or a dark cobalt to indigo blue above, fading gradually to white below. With up to three rows of functional teeth in each jaw, the larger teeth in the upper jaw are “saber shaped,” or broadly convex on one side and concave on the other; the teeth are serrated along the edges, and those in the lower jaw are narrower.

Bonnethead Shark (Sphyrna tiburo)

The bonnethead shark is the smallest member of the hammerhead sharks, the family characterized by having eyes located at the far ends of extended lateral lobes.

The bonnethead is particularly distinctive in appearance because it has a smooth, broadly widened head, frequently described as “spade shaped,” which has more curve to it than do the heads of any other hammerheads. Also, the front of the head is lacking a median groove, which is pres- ent in other hammerheads. Gray to grayish-brown in color, the bonnethead shark seldom exceeds 3 feet in length, maturing at about that length to bear 6 to 12 live young at one time.

Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas)

A large member of the requiem shark family, the bull shark is also called the freshwater whaler and the river whaler because it is most common inshore around river mouths and can adapt to life in freshwater.

This is the species that is landlocked in Lake Nicaragua in Nicaragua and has gained fame as a man-eater because it has been repeatedly implicated in attacks on humans. Also known as the Zambezi shark in southern African waters, the bull shark is one of the three most dangerous sharks in that area, along with great white and tiger sharks, due to its relative abundance in inshore habitats where people are more likely to be attacked.

Hammerhead Sharks (Sphyrna species)

Hammerhead sharks occur worldwide; the most prominent species include the great hammerhead (S. mokarran), the smooth hammerhead (S. zygaena), the scalloped hammerhead (S. lewini), and the bonnethead shark (see).

Hammerheads are easy for even a novice to identify, with eyes located at the ends of two thin lobes and the overall structure resembling a hammer. One possible reason why the head takes on a hammer shape may be that the shape is ideal for turning and locating odors, making the best use of the electroreceptors present in all sharks, which in turn makes detecting food an easier chore.

Lemon Shark (Negaprion brevirostris)

A requiem family shark, the lemon shark grows to 11 feet at maximum, although it is usually between 5 and 8 feet long. A potentially dangerous shark, it may rest on the bottom in coastal waters in groups of 4 to 6 and become aggressive when in the vicinity of spearfishing.

It is commonly yellow-brown, although it can also be muddy dark brown or dark gray with olive sides and a paler belly. It has a blunt and broad snout that appears rounded from below. The second dorsal fin is almost equal in size to the large first dorsal fin, and the upper lobe of the tail is much larger than the lower.

Lemon sharks are good inshore, light-tackle sportfish that inhabit western Atlantic waters from New Jersey to Brazil; in the eastern Pacific they extend from southern Baja California, Mexico, and the Gulf of California to Ecuador.

Leopard Shark (Triakis semifasciata)

The leopard shark is a striking fish, so named for its leopardlike black spots, which run in crossbars across its back and sides over a lighter gray background.

It has an elongate body and a short snout that is bluntly rounded. Attaining lengths of up to 7 feet, the leopard shark inhabits inshore sand flats and rocky areas, often in schools with smoothhound sharks. As a smaller, less aggressive species of shark, it is not considered dangerous.

Porbeagle Shark (Lamna nasus)

The porbeagle shark is a member of the mackerel shark family, as are the great white and the mako sharks, and bears a resemblance to both species.

The porbeagle has a robust, cobalt blue body with a perfectly conical snout that ends in a point. It is easily identified by its teeth, which are smooth and have little cusps on each side of the base. It often has a distinctive white area at the base portion of the first dorsal fin; this fin is farther forward than it is on mako or white sharks.

Sandbar Shark (Carcharhinus Plumbeus)

The sandbar shark is an inshore fish and a good light-tackle fighter, growing usually to between 5 and 7 feet long. A relatively heavy-bodied fish, it is dark bluish-gray to brownishgray and has a pale or white belly.

There is a distinct ridge on the back between the first and the second dorsal fins, and the first fin is large and pointed, starting over the middle of the pectoral fin. Its snout is shorter than the width of its mouth, appearing rounded from below.

Sand Tiger Shark (Carcharias taurus)

Previously called Odontaspis taurus, the sand tiger shark is the most common shark sighted along Atlantic beaches.

It grows to about 9 feet and is grayish-brown or tan, with dark brown spots along the sides that grow more numerous toward the tail; although it bears a resemblance to the tiger shark, it has a larger second dorsal fin, a longer snout, and strongly projecting teeth.

Usually caught accidentally by surf casters fishing for other fish, sand tigers are sluggish and offer little resistance when hooked. In the western Atlantic, they occur from the Gulf of Maine to Argentina.

Sharpnose Sharks (Rhizoprionodon species)

There are six sharpnose sharks in the Rhizoprionodon genus of the requiem shark family, all sharing a similar external appearance that is characterized by a long, flattened snout.

The best-known member of the family is the Atlantic sharpnose (R. terraenovae), which is a very popular small species as an inshore food fish and a small gamefish in the Gulf of Mexico. It grows to between 2 and 4 feet in length and has the characteristic long and flattened snout, as well as a slender brown to olive-gray body with a pale belly. The dorsal and the caudal fins may be edged in black, especially in the young, and often there are small, scattered whitish spots on the sides.

Shortfin Mako Shark (Isurus oxyrinchus)

The shortfin mako is by far the most popular of angling sharks, exceeding 1,000 pounds in weight and 13 feet in length.

The shortfin mako has a streamlined, well-proportioned body that is most striking for a vivid blue-gray or cobalt blue coloring on its back, which changes to a lighter blue on the sides and a snowy white on the belly; this brilliant coloring fades after death to a grayish-brown. Other characteristic features are a conical, sharply pointed snout; a large flattened keel on either side of the caudal peduncle; and a lunate (crescent-shaped) tail with lobes of nearly equal size.