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 Gray reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos)

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Gray reef shark
 Range Map

Earth Map


Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

Class: Carlilagenous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)
  Order: Ground sharks (Carcharhiniformes)
    Family: Requiem sharks (Carcharhinidae)
      Genus: Carcharhinus (Carcharhinus)


Scientific: Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos
Synonyms: Carcharhinus menissorah, Carcharhinus wheeleri
German: Grauer Riffhai, Langschnäuziger Schwarzschwanzhai
English: Gray reef shark, Black-vee whaler, Longnose blacktail shark
French: Requin dagsit
Spanish: Tiburón de arrecifes


Medium-sized to large shark, with a broadly rounded snout. Origin of the first dorsal fin usually over or just in front of the free rear tips of the pectoral fins. No interdorsal ridge.


Grey upper body and white ventral surface. First dorsal fin entirely grey or irregularly white-edged. The entire posterior margin of the caudal fin shows a conspicuous broad black margin. Pectoral fins, second dorsal fin, anal fin and pelvic fin with blackish or dusky tips.


Indian Ocean: Madagascar, Seychelles, and the Maldives. Western central Pacific: Thailand, Australia, New Caledonia, Philippines, Indonesia, east to the Hawaiian Islands and the Tuamoto Archipelago, Tahiti.


A common coastal-pelagic and inshore species. Found around coral reefs, often in deeper areas near drop-offs to the open ocean, shallow lagoons adjacent to areas of strong currents. Occurs at a depth from the surface and intertidal down to at least 100 m (max. about 280 m). Active and strong-swimming social species. Form daytime schools or aggregations in favoured areas such as reef passes, lagoons, or places near passes. This species is very curious and is prone to investigate events in circumstances where food stimuli are not present (such as divers entering the water). Although this shark is active during the day, it is more active nocturnally. Grey reef sharks can lay motionless on the bottom for a longer period of time. This is one of the three most common reef sharks in the Indo-Pacific, the two others are the Blacktip reef shark and Whitetip reef shark


Feeds on reef bony fishes, but also squid, octopi, crabs and lobsters.


Maximum size about 255 cm, normally less than 200 cm.


Viviparous with a yolk-sac placenta. 1 to 6 pups per litter. Gestation period about 12 months. Males mature at 130 to 145 cm, females mature at about 120 to 135 cm. Birth size between 45 and 60 cm. Males and females mature at about 7 years, expected life span is at least 25 years.

 Similar Species

Blacktip reef shark but they possess a very dominant black tip at the first dorsal fin, other fins have black tips, too.


Status in the IUCN Red List(1994):

Main criterion: > LR/nt (Low Risk/Near Threatened (1994))
Sub criterion:
Trend: Unknown

 Danger to Humans

Accidents are known. Grey reef sharks are known to "hunch" when feeling threatened.

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