Grey Reef Shark

Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos

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These agile sharks are some of the most common found in coral reef systems throughout the South Pacific. The shark can be identified by its streamlined body, blunt snout and large, dark eyes. They are usually grey or greyish-brown in color with a pale belly. Because they spend most of their time close to the water’s surface, they can often tan to a much darker grey color. The tips of their pectoral, pelvic, second dorsal, and anal fins are black.

Grey reef sharks will often hunt in groups of up to twenty individuals and tend to stay close to the same reefs throughout their lives. Their diet consists mostly of fishes, cephalopods and crustaceans.

Range and Habitat

A common species throughout the southern Pacific and Indian Oceans, the grey reef shark can be found in shallow, coastal waters from the coast of South Africa east to Rapanui (Easter Island). As their name suggests, they congregate around coral reefs and sometimes venture into lagoons. They prefer the upper, sun-lit portion of the water column but have been known to dive as deep as 3,300 feet (1,000 m).

Conservation Status

Near threatened. Currently, the grey reef shark is one of the most common sharks on tropical reef systems, along with the blacktip reef shark (C. melanopterus_) and the whitetip reef shark (_Triaenodon obesus), but their numbers have been steadily declining.