Learn all you have to know about the docile and also sedentary nurse shark including its wanted habitat and the peculiar way it provides up because that its little mouth once feeding.

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A Solitary Nurse Shark at Night

There is still part question as to how the nurse shark gained its name. Could it be because of the sucking/slurping sound it renders while sucking up food that mimics the sounds of a nursing baby? another theory is that the name comes from an archaic word “nusse” which means cat shark. That’s probably due come the whisker-like projections about its mouth. Well, its scientific name, Ginglymostoma cirratum, is clues on and is a mix that Greek and also Latin. It way “curled, hinged mouth.”

The nurse shark has a vast head, a tiny mouth with rows that serrated teeth and also a tail fin that is nearly a quarter of its entire body length. Though the name is benign; this fish package an intimidating range of rows of sharp teeth and also a pains bite once provoked.

It’s one of the shark types that can pump water end its gills once it is stationary. As a result of this characteristic, the does not need to swim repeatedly to breathe.

Nurse sharks space exceptionally sedentary and do not migrate, unlike plenty of other shark species.

1. Clinical Name

Ginglymostoma cirratum

2. Scientific Classification

Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: ChondrichthyesSubclass: ElasmobranchiiOrder: OrectolobiformesFamily: GinglymostomatidaeGenus: GinglymostomaSpecies: Ginglymostoma cirratum

3. Life Expectancy

Nurse sharks can live for up to 25 years.

4. Average/Maximum Length

Adult nurse sharks variety from 7.5 come 9.75 ft. (2.2 come 3 m) through the females being bigger than the males. The maximum recorded adult length is right now 3.08 m (10.1 ft.)

5. Average/Maximum Weight

They weigh from 200 to 330 lbs (90 come 150 kg).

6. Maximum swimming Speed

Nurse sharks room slow and sluggish; their specific swimming speed is no documented.

7. Risk To Humans

These sharks are docile, slow-moving bottom-dwellers and are generally thought about harmless to humans. Over there is no record of a fatal assault from a nurse shark come date. But since they can flourish to be quite huge, and also have very solid jaws filled with rows of hundreds of tiny, serrated teeth, it’s advisable to communicate with them cautiously. Certainly, they will bite and injure you quite painfully if you stepped ~ above one, because that instance.

8. Reproduction Details

Nurse sharks are ovoviviparous. Your young space hatched from egg within the human body of the mother sharks. Lock mate every two years from late June come the finish of July. The gestation period is 6 months through a litter the 21 to 29 pups ~ above the average. Their young cannibalize each other, and the bigger pups will eat the underdeveloped ones. After ~ that, the pups are born fully developed through each one measuring around 30 cm (12 in.) long.

They with maturity in ~ 15 to twenty years old. Nurse sharks will go back to the same reproduction grounds again and also again, and they are among the few shark species that exhibition this sort of mating website fidelity.

9. Nurse Shark Diet

Nurse sharks space solitary, nocturnal fish, and also they invest their nights, rifling with sediments in ~ the s floor trying to find food. Their main diet is little fish, stingrays, spiny lobsters, crabs, shrimp, sea urchins, octopi, squid, and also marine snails. Nurse sharks are an effective suction feeders that have the right to generate nearly the the strongest suction forces amongst aquatic vertebrate to date.

Though castle have small mouths, the won’t avoid them native seizing chunks the prey with their teeth and also shaking your heads violently to mitigate the dimension of every piece.

10. Populace And conservation Status

This types is considered as among Least issue in the U.S. And Bahamas but is divide as breakable in the western Atlantic, southern America and also in many locations of main America and the Caribbean. Globally, that assessed as Data Deficient because figures space not reliable throughout its variety in the east Pacific and also Eastern Atlantic.

Commercial fisheries execute not frequently hunt the nurse shark. However, the skin is very tough and also is offered for high-quality top quality leather products. Also, their liver oil is useful too, so some fisheries carry out go after ~ them. Their slow-moving speed provides them quite easy come catch.

11. Ancestry and History

Evidence indigenous morphological similarities mirrors that the nurse shark (Ginglymostoma) is likely the sister genus that the tawny nurse shark (Nebrius). Both of them are put in a clade (group) the includes types like the short-tail nurse shark (Pseudoginglymostoma brevicaudatum), the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), and the zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum).

12. Distribution and also Habitat

Nurse sharks have a broad geographical distribution, and they favor the tropical and sub-tropical coastal waters that the eastern Atlantic, west Atlantic, and also Eastern Pacific.

In the eastern Atlantic, the thrives from Cape Verde come Gabon. You can find it in the west Atlantic, indigenous the Caribbean come Rhode Island and also on to southern Brazil. If in the eastern Pacific they prosper from Baja, California come Peru.

These room non-migratory fish, and also instead of moving in cooler weather, they it is adapted to cooler temperatures by diminish their already low metabolism and activity level.

They choose to dwell on the sea floor in warm, shallow waters. Therefore, lock are commonly found at depths of one meter or less yet can go under to 12 meters. Juveniles prefer the bottom that shallow coral reefs, algae flats, and in channels about mangrove islands. Older sharks of the types typically seek shelter in crevices and under ledges in and also around depth reefs and rocky locations during the day, coming out to feed at night.

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They are plentiful wherever they are found and they have no special conservation status. Yet closeness to human activity and their valuable skin method they are sometimes victims of bycatch and also selective hunting. These activities are gradually putting push on the species.