Nurse Shark

Nurse Shark

Ginglymostoma cirratum

Life History:


Description and Diagnostic Characteristics: The mouth is near the tip of the snout with conspicuous nasal barbells on each side; deep grooves connecting nostrils with the mouth. The first and second dorsal and anal fins are broadly rounded and the second dorsal fin is nearly as large as the first dorsal fin. The first dorsal fin originates well behind the pectoral fins and over or behind the origin of the pelvic fins. Caudal fins have no distinct lower lobe. It is dark brown to yellow-brown in color above, lighter brown below and occasionally with yellowish hues on the underside. Juveniles often have black spots. They have very small eyes and no interdorsal ridge.

Size: Can get up to about 9 feet

Age at Maturity: 7½ feet for females and 7 feet for males

Range: Rhode Island to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Rare north of Cape Hatteras

Habitat: Coastal; often in or close to coral reefs on or near the bottom; young in very shallow water; adults in progressively deeper water.

Angling Information:


Bait and Tackle: Cut bait of any kind but nothing artificial. Any kind of tackle except fly will work.

Fishing Method: Still fishing

Food Value: Excellent

State Regulation:


Daily Limit: 1 per angler or boat

Minimum size: 54" FL

Federal Regulation:

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