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Ginglymostomatidae - nurse sharks

Nurse  Shark There are three species in this family of sharks. They are found in warm ocean waters in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans at depths of up to 250 feet.

They have flattened bodies; broad, flat heads; small eyes; two spineless dorsal fins; and barbells on their nostrils. Nurse sharks range in size from the 2.5 foot long short-tail nurse shark to the 9 foot long nurse shark and tawny nurse shark.

During the day they are found in shallow water in groups of up to 40 individuals in mudflats, sand flats, coral reefs, or rocky crevices. At night, nurse sharks hunt alone for small bony fish, crustaceans, octopuses, squid, sea-urchins, mollusks, and even coral.

World Status Key
Least ConcernLeast Concern Near ThreatenedNear Threatened VulnerableVulnerable EndangeredEndangered Critically EndangeredCritically Endangered extinct in the wildExtinct in Wild extinctExtinct
Status taken from ICUN Redlist. If no status is listed, there is not enough data to establish status, or there is no status data for the species.

US Status Key
Threatened in US Threatened in US Threatened in New Hampshire Threatened in NH Endangered in US Endangered in US Endangered in NH Endangered in NH Introduced Introduced
Status taken from US Fish and Wildlife and NH Fish and Game

New Hampshire Species

 

 North/Central American Species

None   Nurse Shark - Ginglymostoma cirratum

Species Around the World

Location Key
Africa Africa Asia Asia Australia Australia/Oceania Europe Europe North America North/Central America South America South America New Hampshire Species NH Species
atlantic OceanAtlantic Ocean Arctic OceanArctic Ocean indian OceanIndian Ocean southern oceanMediterranean/Black Sea pacific oceanPacific Ocean

Nurse Shark - Ginglymostoma cirratum Africa Europe North America South America atlantic Ocean pacific ocean
Tawny Nurse Shark - Nebrius ferrugineus Vulnerable Africa Asia Australia indian Ocean pacific ocean
Shorttail Nurse Shark - Pseudoginglymostoma brevicaudatum Vulnerable Africa indian Ocean

 

 

Additional Information

Resource Key
profile Profile Photos Photos Video Video Audio Audio

Nurse Shark - Ginglymostoma cirratum profile Photos Africa Europe North America South America atlantic Ocean pacific ocean
Nurse sharks are slow-moving bottom-dwellers.
Source: National Geographic Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

Nurse Shark - Ginglymostoma cirratum profile Photos Africa Europe North America South America atlantic Ocean pacific ocean
Nurse sharks are nocturnal hunters that rest during the day in groups.
Source: Enchanted Learning Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Elementary School Teacher Section: No

Nurse Shark - Ginglymostoma cirratum profile Photos Video Africa Europe North America South America atlantic Ocean pacific ocean
Nurse sharks feed on stingrays, mollusks, and crustaceans.
Source: Florida Museum of Natural History Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Middle/High School Teacher Section: Yes

Nurse Shark - Ginglymostoma cirratum profile Photos Video Africa Europe North America South America atlantic Ocean pacific ocean
Nurse sharks are frequently found in coral reefs.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle/High School Teacher Section: Yes

Shorttail Nurse Shark - Pseudoginglymostoma brevicaudatum profile Photos Vulnerable Africa indian Ocean
The short-tailed nurse shark is found in the western Indian Ocean.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Tawny Nurse Shark - Nebrius ferrugineus profile Photos Video Vulnerable Africa Asia Australia indian Ocean pacific ocean
The tawny nurse shark can change color from gray to brown depending on its surroundings.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle/High School Teacher Section: Yes