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.

Standard Common Name

Grey Reef Shark

Alternative Name/s

Black-vee Whaler, Fowler's Whaler Shark, Graceful Shark, Graceful Whaler Shark, Longnose Blacktail Shark

Identification

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.

Size range

This species grows to 2.55 m in length but individuals over 1.8 m are uncommon.

Similar Species

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.

Distribution

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.

Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Grey Reef Shark specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

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.

Classification

Species:
amblyrhynchos
Genus:
Carcharhinus
Family:
Carcharhinidae
Order:
Carcharhiniformes
Class:
Chondrichthyes
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994 Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.
  5. 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
Last Updated:

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,