I.44732-014 - Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos (Whitley) Click to enlarge image
Grey Reef Shark Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos UG 590 (AMS) Image: Jay Cossey
© University of Guelph

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    amblyrhynchos
    Genus
    Carcharhinus
    Family
    Carcharhinidae
    Order
    Carcharhiniformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    This species grows to 2.55 m in length but individuals over 1.8 m are uncommon.

Introduction

The Grey Reef Shark has a black caudal fin margin. The species occurs in tropical marine waters throughout the Indo-west and Central Pacific.



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.

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.

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.



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

The species is regarded as potentially dangerous.

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.