The Nurse shark
The Nurse shark is one of the most common shark species around. Why is it called the Nurse shark?
Well, some scientists say that "nurse" comes from the word "nusse" which means catfish. If you ever saw a Nurse
shark, you will be amazed by its physical resemblance to a catfish as its snouts has barbels too. Others say that
it comes from the noise of the shark sucking up its prey from its shell during feeding time, reminding of the noise
of a baby nursing from his mother.
The scientific name of the Nurse shark is Ginglymostoma
cirratum and it belongs to the order of the Orectolobiformes. Amongst its cousins, you will find the Whale shark.
Their maximal length can reach up to 3 m and its weight can be as much as 110 kg. Its barbels are not only
sensitive to touch but also to taste which help with the hunting of preys. Its flexible pectoral fins can help the
Nurse shark to move along the seabed as well as while swimming the traditional way.
The Nurse shark is an active predator at night while during the day, it prefers to rest on the
seabed and in caves. During the Nurse shark feeding period, it will hunt and enjoy the favorite preys on the menu,
which is mainly composed of mollusks, crustaceans, fish and stingrays.
The Nurse shark habitat can be found in the tropical and
subtropical waters off the coasts of both Atlantic and Pacific Oceans along the Americas. It is also found in the
Caribbean and West Africa. Occasionally, it can be found in other regions.
Nurse sharks type of reproduction is ovoviviparous, which means that their eggs hatch in utero and
the female will give birth to live pups. Each litter may contain between 20 and 40 pups.
Nurse sharks are prized for their tough skin, which provides good quality leather to humans. Their
flesh is also enjoyed as a culinary delicacy. Their liver is used for the vitamin-rich oil.
Nurse sharks have been known to be involved in shark attacks against humans although they have not
been resulting in fatalities. For this reason, this shark species is not considered dangerous to humans compared to
the Great White shark.
If you wish to learn more about various types of sharks, I
encourage you to visit the following main page of this site: Types of