View all available
Nurse Shark Pictures in the
Shark Pictures Database
shark, Common nurse shark, Atlantic nurse shark.
brown or gray body, paling slightly towards belly. Two dorsal fins of almost
equal size close to tail. Head bulbous with small mouth. Mouth has a barbell on
each side. Tail narrow with a large upper caudal lobe and no distinct lower
Size: 5 to
9ft max. 14ft.
in many environments including reef flats, sandy areas, lagoons, and mangroves.
From intertidal to 150ft.
is the most commonly encountered shark on most Caribbean reefs. It can be
locally common from Florida to Brazil.
the Atlantic coast of the Americas from Rhode Island to Brazil. Bermuda and the
Eastern Atlantic from Senegal to Gabon. Reports of Atlantic nurse sharks in the Eastern Pacific
are misidentifications of the Pacific Nurse Shark Ginglymostoma unami.
Sleeps under overhangs of reefs, or in mangroves during the day. Often found
sleeping in small groups. At night forages for spiny lobsters, crabs, octopus,
and sea urchins etc. May inhabit the same area for many years.
Surprisingly, the Atlantic Nurse Shark is listed as
Data deficient by the IUCN. Populations in some areas of the Caribbean
and the Bahamas are extremely well documented and populations in those (often
protected) areas appear to be stable.
Brazil the Nurse Shark is consumed locally by fishermen, who incidentally or
actively capture the species. In Venezuela it is marketed salt dried (Cervigón
and Alcalá 1999). Major threats include incidental and deliberate capture in
coastal fisheries, spear fishing and capture for the ornamental fish trade, and
indirectly, the impacts on the coastal zone, particularly on reef areas which
constitute its preferred habitat. Human impacts (including pollution), increases
in nutrient loading as a result of run-off after deforestation, and disturbance
from tourism are all detrimental to this species' shallow reef habitat. Actively
targeted by Panamanian artisanal fishers with lines and gillnets. Fished by
artisanal fishers along the Colombian coast with nets and lines. Nurse sharks
are also harvested in parts of the Caribbean for their skin.
In the United States, they are occasionally captured in the
bottom longline fishery, however, nearly all are released and post-release
survivorship is high.
Utilisation: Nurse Sharks are fished in Panama for their fins and meat (US$
0.75 per Lb) (Monzini 2004). In Colombia nurse sharks are mostly targetted for
the skin while meat is usually transformed into animal food (Cervigon et al.
1999). In Panama, juveniles are also collected for public and private aquarium (Monzini
2004). Information on trade and utilization is lacking from other parts
of the species' range.
rock, Grenadines, St Vincent (top). Tiger Beach, Bahamas (bottom).
The common nurse shark is the only member of thee
nurse shark family found in the Atlantic. Reports from the eastern Pacific
represent occurrences of the newly described Pacific Nurse Shark
Reaction to divers: Lies motionless
for much of the day unless closely harassed or in the vicinity of a shark feed. Will bite if provoked. Nurse sharks
are opportunistic and become regular visitors to shark feeds.
sharks are extremely common sights in many areas of Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
One particularly good place to dive with nurse sharks is at South Bimini
Island in the Bahamas. From November to March, dive operators run Great Hammerhead Shark trips
to a particular spot near Bimini Sands Resort. Although not the target species,
score of nurse sharks often show up and settle down in front of the feeding
crates to the chagrin of the feeders who then have to contend with them stirring
up sand and trying to steel bait from the incoming hammerheads.
Rosa, R.S., Castro, A.L.F., Furtado, M., Monzini, J. & Grubbs, R.D. 2006. Ginglymostoma
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006:
e.T60223A12325895. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2006.RLTS.T60223A12325895.en. Downloaded
on 02 April 2019.