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To see photographs of the Grey Reef Shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) click here.

Grey Reef Shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos)

Grey Reef Shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos)

All images and text on this page are copyright protected: © 2010 Kelvin Aitken.
All rights reserved. Students may use this information for personal research only. Not for commercial use.

Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Carcharhinidae
Genus: Carcharhinus
Species: amblyrhynchos
Taxonomic name: Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos

Of the whaler sharks the Grey Reef Shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) is one of the most common species found on tropical coral reefs. Despite only growing to 1.8 m long, it is one to be respected due to its territorial and assertive behaviour. Many studies have been undertaken which show that the Grey Reef Shark will attack if cornered, provoked or threatened. Its nature could be compared to that of a frisky dog with a bone.

Diving with Grey Reef Sharks

Grey Reef Sharks are very popular on shark dives. When divers enter the water, they often swim in rapidly, no doubt attracted by the commotion caused by noisy divers. They then usually swim away to patrol their reef. When accustomed to people in the water they will put on a dazzling display which may culminate in a feeding frenzy, all with minimum danger to the spectators.

While other sharks may display aggressive body language, none are more explicit than the Grey Reef Shark. Typical warning displays are an arched back, dropped pectoral fins and an exaggerated swaying swimming motion. If deliberately provoked the shark may then attack with lightening speed to deliver one or more bites before swimming away. While the bites are serious they are rarely fatal. People most often attacked are those spearfishing or careless divers that corner an animal in a reef canyon.

Tests with underwater speakers have shown that Grey Reef Sharks are attracted by low-frequency vibrations similar to those put out by struggling fish.

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