Animal Species:Grey Reef Shark, Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos (Bleeker, 1856)
The Grey Reef Shark has a black caudal fin margin. The species occurs in tropical marine waters throughout the Indo-west and Central Pacific.
Black-vee Whaler, Fowler's Whaler Shark, Graceful Shark, Graceful Whaler Shark, Longnose Blacktail Shark
The Grey Reef Shark is bronze to grey above, pale below, and has a black caudal fin margin. An indistinct stripe runs anteriorly from above the pelvic fins. The first dorsal fin sometimes has a small white tip and a white posterior margin.
This species grows to 2.55 m in length but individuals over 1.8 m are uncommon.
The species looks similar to the Galapagos Shark. They can be separated by the number of precaudal vertebrae (110-121 vs. 103-109) and colouration of the tail.
The species is found in tropical marine waters throughout the Indo-west and Central Pacific. In Australia it is recorded from the central Western Australian coast, around the tropical north and south to southern Queensland.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
The Grey Whaler Shark is a common species on coral reefs. It lives from the surface down to a depth of about 280 m.
Other behaviours and adaptations
It has an inquisitive nature, often investigating disturbances and approaching divers. It has a well-documented threat display that involves raising its head, arching its back, lowering its pectoral fins, and swimming with exaggerated movements.
Danger to humans and first aid
The species is regarded as potentially dangerous.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994 Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Tags fishes, ichthyology, Grey Whaler Shark, Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, Carcharhinidae, Grey Reef Shark, Black-vee Whaler, Fowler's Whaler Shark, Graceful Shark, Graceful Whaler Shark, Longnose Blacktail Shark, grey, pale underside, black caudal fin, stripe, > 2m, Galapagso Shark, tropical water, marine, adult,