Monday, February 7, 2011

Nurse Shark

Nurse Shark
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Chondrichthyes
Order : Orectolobiformes
Family : Ginglymostomatidae
Genus : Ginglymostoma
Species : cirratum

Length : 7.5-10ft (2.2-3m)
Weight : 200-325lbs (90-150g)

IUCN Status : Data Deficient

The origin of the Nurse Shark's name is a bit shrouded in mystery. It might be a derivation of "Nusse," which is a name given to different types of "Catshark." It might also be taken from the Old-English Hurse, which refers to sea-floor dwelling sharks. It also might refer to the sucking sound that the sharks make while hunting.

If those possible name origins didn't already give it away, the Nurse Shark is a bottom dwelling shark that has catfish-like whiskers. They can be found in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, in warm tropical and subtropical coastal water.

Nurse Sharks are not harmful to humans, even though they can get quite large. The prefer to feed on bottom-dwelling invertebrates like shrimp, snails, and octopuses, as well as fish. They have small mouths but amazingly fast and strong suction power, and strong jaws that allow them to crush shells with ease.

Nurse Sharks are ovoviviparous, and give birth to 20-30 young at a time.

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