Tawny Nurse Shark
Scientific name..........Nebrius Ferrugineus
The tawny nurse shark is a large shark with a broad flattened head,
snout rounded or truncated. Mouth in front of eyes with long nasoral
grooves. Nostrils with barbels. Small spiracles behind eyes. Small
gill slits, two spinless dorsal fins. Precaudal tail much shorter
than head and body. Unpatterned, juveniles will have a few dark
Tawny nurse sharks can reach a maximum length of 10.4 feet ( 320 cm
). Born at 15.7 up to 23 inches ( 40-60 cm ).
They have short small mouths with fan-shaped serrated teeth. The
tawny nurse shark's name was presumably derived from its ability to
suck up prey using a powerful sucking motion with its throat, just
like a baby being nursed.
Their color may change between shades of brown , depending on the
color of its habitat.
This species feeds on crustaceans, sea urchins, cephalopods, and
reef fish, and sometimes on sea snakes.
Mainly nocturnal, prowl reefs at night searching for prey.
They are wide-ranging, tropical Indo-pacific: South Africa to Red
Sea and Gulf, East Asia north to Japan, Australia to Marshall
Islands and Tahiti. This species is found on or near bottom in
sheltered areas: lagoons, particularly juveniles, channels, crevices
and caves in outer coral and rocky reef edges, seagrass and sand on
and near reefs and off beaches. They occur from intertidal to 228
feet (70 m ) but mainly found between 16-98.4 feet (5 to 30 m).
Tawny Nurse sharks are ovoviviparous ( aplacental viviparous ).
Young feed inside the uterus on large infertile yolky eggs. Litter
size is uncertain, one to four, depending upon competition in the
This shark is usually docile, but may bite if provoked.
Vulnerable, fished through much of its range.