Species: Ginglymostoma cirratum, Nurse shark
Ginglymostoma cirratum (Bonnaterre, 1788)
Head broad and flattened; snout broad, rounded; nostrils with large barbels; eyes small, oval, behind the mouth; mouth small, transverse, opens a little under snout; teeth small, multicusped; five small gill arches, last two close together and over pectoral fin; fins blunt and rounded; two large dorsal fins, second dorsal ~½ size of first, base of first one over base of pelvics; tail asymmetrical, lower lobe hardly developed.
Yellow brown to grey brown; young with small dark spots and obscure saddle markings on back.
Size: to ~ 300 (possibly 430) cm.
Lives around reefs, mangroves, and sand flats.
Depth range: 0-130 m, usually nearshore.
The E and W Atlantic; in the W Atlantic from Rhode Island to S Brazil.
Note: Compared to its East Pacific sister species, G unami, the Atlantic species G cirratum has: (i) the 1st dorsal fin origin further back relative to the pelvic fins (ii) the pelvic fins not reaching as far towards the 2nd dorsal fin; (iii) the two dorsal fins are further apart; (iv) the 2nd dorsal fin does not reach as close to the tail fin; (v) the anal fin does not reach as close to the base of the tail fin; (vi) the pelvic fins are further from the anal fin; (vii) the body is more slender; (viii) the teeth have fewer secondary cusplets (2-3 on each side vs 5-6), which are pointed rather than blunt; and (ix) the skin denticles are narrower and with fewer keels.
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- Inshore Only
- Water Column Position
- Bottom only
- Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
- Sand & gravel
- Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
- Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
- Reef and soft bottom
- FishBase Habitat
- Reef Associated
- Feeding Group
- Bony fishes
- Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
- Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
- Egg Type
- Live birth
- No pelagic larva
- No pelagic phase
- Global Endemism
- Greater Caribbean non-endemic
- Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
- All species
- Regional Endemism
- Island (s)
- Continent + Island (s)
- Extends N + S of GC
- Extends North of GC
- Extends South of GC
- Also in Brazil
- GC non-endemic
- Climate Zone
- Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
- Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
- Temperate (>35N)
- Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
- IUCN Red List
- Data deficient
- Not listed
- Length Max
- Depth Range Min
- Depth Range Max