Family: GINGLYMOSTOMATIDAE, Nurse Sharks
mouth small, transverse, opens near front
Diagnostic features of nurse sharks (which reach ~ 3 m) include a short, wide, blunt snout; oval eyes, behind mouth; a pair of large barbels below the snout; a groove between each nasal opening and the corner of the mouth; mouth small, transverse, opens a little under snout; 5 gill slits, the last two very close together and above the pectoral fin; two relatively close-set dorsal fins of about equal size on the rear half of the body; a relatively short, strongly asymmetric tail with almost no lower lobe; no keels on tail base.
A circumglobal family with 3 subtropical to tropical genera and 3 species; one species occurs in our region.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER CARPENTER (2002)