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Species: Ginglymostoma cirratum, Nurse shark

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broad flat round head
2 large Ds
under snout: 2 large barbels

Ginglymostoma cirratum (Bonnaterre, 1788)

Nurse shark

A large shark with a broad flattened rounded head; eyes small, oval; a pair of barbels below snout; grooves present between nostrils and mouth; mouth below, with multi-pointed teeth; 5 gill slits, last 2 close together and over pectoral; two dorsal fins of similar size; tail fin moderately long, about one-third of TL, with almost no lower lobe.

Yellow brown to grey brown; young with small dark spots and obscure saddles on back.

Size: to ~ 300 (possibly 430) cm

Lives around reefs, mangroves, and sand flats

Depth range 0-130 m

Southern Baja to Peru.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Live birth
  • No data
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America)
  • East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West)
  • TEP non-endemic
  • East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West)
Regional Endemism
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
IUCN Red List
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 430
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 130