Sharks are found throughout the world but their populations are declining every day. This has led to protection of some species. One of the first shark species to be protected was the Grey nurse shark (Carcharias taurus)
. The biology, distribution and conservation of this species are dealt with in the following paragraphs with a main focus on Australia
as it was here it first became protected.
The Grey Nurse shark (Carcharias taurus)
, also called the Sand Tiger shark or Ragged-tooth shark, is an elasmobranch and belongs to the Odontaspidae family. It can easily be recognised by its characteristic conical snout and underhung jaw. Both jaws are laden with sharp, long and pointed teeth. The head is flattened and it has a large and stout body which ranges up to 3.2m and may weight up to 300 kg. The body is grey to grey-brown dorsally and off-white on the belly. The juveniles (young sharks) usually have dark spots on the upper two thirds of the body. The first and second dorsal fins are of similar size and the caudal fin is asymmetric. Once believed to be a man-eater it is now known that this shark rarely attacks humans and if it does it is only in defence.
Sharks are the top predators in our oceans, and as such they are important for the marine ecosystems as important regulators of other species. They eat the weak, the old and the dead animals. The Grey Nurse sharks eat mainly lobsters, crabs, smaller sharks, fish, rays and squid.
The Grey Nurse... Read More