Nurse Shark


  • Class  Chondrichthyes
  • Order   Orectolobiformes
  • Family   Ginglymostomatidae
  • Genus    Ginglymostoma
  • Species  G. cirratum

habitat & Range

Nurse sharks can be found in coastal waters near coral reefs.

Did you know?

  • Nurse sharks will spend most of their day sleeping in groups in a cave or crevice.
  • They can use their pectoral fins to “walk” across the  ocean floor.
  • The maximum measured length for this fish is 10.1 feet  long, and the heaviest weighed nurse shark was 263.8 pounds.
  • In 2012 this species was divided from the Pacific nurse shark due to their differences in traits. The two populations were separated  about 3 million years ago.

North American River Otter

Form & Function

This species has nasal barbels on each side of the mouth. They have large, rounded fins that are set back on the body due to their benthic lifestyle. The caudal fin has a reduced to absent lower lobe and the body is typically a yellow-brown color on the back and lighter yellow on the belly. As a sluggish species, the nurse shark has adapted to a nocturnal lifestyle that allows it to feed on fish while they are resting. They also have a large throat that allows them to use suction pressure while feeding.

Conservation & YOu

Data Deficient (IUCN) They are threatened by anthropogenic habitat disturbance due to its preference for coastal waters. You can help the nurse shark by supporting habitat protection and cleaning up around coastal waters.
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