Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; reef-associated; depth range 0 - 70 m (Ref. 106604), usually 5 - 30 m (Ref. 43278). Tropical; 36°N - 27°S, 32°E - 136°W
Indo-Pacific: Persian Gulf (Ref.80050), Red Sea and East Africa to the Tuamoto Islands, north to southern Japan, south to Australia.
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 230 - ? cm
Max length : 320 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 247); common length : 250 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. )
Morphology | Morphometrics
soft rays: 0. This large, bulky nurse shark is distinguished by the following features: side of body without lateral ridges; precaudal tail shorter than trunk; spiracles much smaller than eyes; nostrils close to front of snout, with short barbels and nasoral grooves connecting them with the mouth but without circumnarial grooves and folds; snout wedge-shaped in lateral view; two dorsal fins, both with angular apices, the origin of the first about over the pelvic-fin origins and its insertion slightly behind the pelvic-fin insertions; second dorsal fin slightly smaller than first; caudal fin about 1/3 of total length, strongly asymmetrical. Colour tan dorsally, paler ventrally and fins slightly dusky (Ref. 9999, 90102).
Found on continental and insular shelves, from the intertidal down to at least 70 m (Ref. 247). Occurs on or near the bottom in lagoons or along the outer edges of coral and rocky reefs, sandy areas near reefs and off sandy beaches (Ref. 247, 43278). Primarily nocturnal, but may be active during the day (Ref. 247). Prefers crevices and caves on reefs but may be found hiding in more exposed areas (Ref. 247). Forms resting aggregations, and often seen piled across or on top of one another (Ref. 247). Feeds on a wide variety of bottom invertebrates, small fishes (Ref. 247), including cephalopods, crustaceans and sea urchins (Ref. 37816), corals (Ref. 68964). Docile and known to allow itself to be touched, but a few non-fatal attacks have been recorded (Ref. 247). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 43278). 4 or more young are born per litter (Ref. 37816). Survives in captivity (Ref. 247). Marketed fresh and dried-salted; fins dried for the oriental sharkfin trade; liver processed for vitamins and oil; offal processed for fishmeal; hide potentially valuable for leather (Ref. 247).
Ovoviviparous, with number of young at least four per uterus (Ref. 247); gives birth to litters of at about 8 pups (Ref.58048). Described as an oviparous or post-oviparous shark that retains the egg-cases until they hatch and the young are born. Size at birth 40 cm (TL, Ref.58048) to 60 cm (Ref. 9999). Also Ref. 205.
Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/1):1-249. Rome, FAO. (Ref. 247)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 123416)
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 24.7 - 29, mean 28 °C (based on 1466 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 1.0625 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00417 (0.00158 - 0.01100), b=3.08 (2.85 - 3.31), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 4.1 ±0.4 se; based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Fec=4).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (77 of 100) .