A fast and agile predator, the spinner shark preys on a variety of pelagic, bony fish including sardines, herrings, mullet and tunas, but will also take small sharks, cuttlefish, squids and octopi (1) (4). This species employs an unusual method of hunting, which involves swimming rapidly through schools of fish, spinning on its axis, and snapping in all directions at the scattering prey, culminating in an impressive leap from the water surface. Although high-up in the food chain, the spinner shark does occasionally fall prey to larger shark species, with the smaller juveniles and sub-adults being especially vulnerable (4).
Populations of the spinner shark found in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of Florida and Louisiana are known to be highly migratory, forming schools that move inshore during the spring and summer to reproduce and feed (4) (5). Like many shark species, the female spinner shark gives birth to live young (2) (4), producing between 3 and 15 well-developed offspring after a gestation period of around 12 to 15 months (4). The newborn sharks quickly move into shallow estuarine waters where sources of food are numerous and predation pressure is less intense (4).
Despite the fearsome reputation of many large sharks, few are considered to be dangerous to humans. Only thirteen attacks have ever been recorded for this species, none of which have proven to be fatal (4). As with other shark species, the real cause for concern is the threat posed to the spinner shark by humans (6).