Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 70 m (Ref. 1602), usually 5 - 30 m (Ref. 43278). Tropical; 41°N - 27°S, 32°E - 169°W
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. A large, bulky nurse shark with a small mouth and small comb-like teeth, and with angular fins (Ref. 5578). Caudal fin shorter, much less than half the length of body; no ridges on side of the body; pectoral fins falcate (Ref. 6871). Brown dorsally, paler ventrally (Ref. 391); fins slightly dusky (Ref. 9999). Spiracles much smaller than eye (Ref. 9999).
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Tuamoto Islands, north to southern Japan, south to Australia.
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). 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).
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. 90363)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 1.1250 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00457 (0.00177 - 0.01179), b=3.10 (2.87 - 3.33), based on LWR estimates for this Subfamily-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.1 ±0.5 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Fec=4).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High vulnerability (61 of 100) .