Lemon Shark Gestation

blog post photo

In the Womb: Extreme Animals premieres Sunday October 10 at 8P et/pt on Nat Geo Wild. 

Lemon Shark
(Negaprion brevirostris)

Gestation Length: About 1 year

1 month: The shark embryo is about the size of a little finger and is fed a constant supply of nutrients through its yolk sac.

3 months: The lemon shark fetus has reached eight inches and now looks very much like a shark, with its iconic dorsal fin. Its depleted yolk sac becomes a placenta by imbedding itself into the walls of the mother’s uterus, tapping into her blood supply—just like a human fetus.

10 months: The lemon shark fetus measures almost two feet long. It has its adult pigmentation and its eyes have started to function. Its razor-sharp teeth have begun to develop under thin membranes in its gums.

1 year: The mother heads to the comparative safety of shallow water to give birth. It will take her pups nearly 12 years to reach their six-foot-long adult size, but they are self sufficient hunters from the time they are born.