Nurse Sharks

Overview

Nurse sharks, also known by their scientific name as Ginglymostoma cirratum, are an unusual species. From how they tend to swim near the bottom of the ocean, or their thousands of tiny serrated teeth. Unlike the other species, nurse sharks skin is smooth when you touch it. This is unusual because majority of sharks skin feels almost exactly like sandpaper due to most sharks skin being made of tiny teeth like structures. These teeth like structures are called derma denticles, or more commonly known as placoid scales. Nurse sharks still have derma denticles, but their skin just feels smoother especially when compared to other species. This species of unique sharks are also favored by divers, because they are considered relatively safe to humans. Nurse sharks are undeniably fascinating, read more to expand your knowledge on the species!

Appearance

Nurse sharks have a very unique and recognizable appearance. Nurse sharks scientific name (Ginglymostoma cirratum) is actually a mix of Greek and Latin meaning “curled and hinged mouth.“ when translated. Nurse sharks body could be described as flat and broad. Look at the example pictured below in order to see the description in picture form. Nurse sharks coloration can range from a light yellowish-brown color to a dark brown. They have a rounded head, with two parallel barbels on each side of their mouth. The species has relatively small eyes compared to the rest of its body. Nurse sharks teeth are very tiny and they have thousands of teeth.

Photo credits: https://www.welovesharks.club/species-profile-the-nurse-shark/

Diet and Lifestyle

Nurse sharks life an average lifespan among sharks, usually up to 25 years. As said before, nurse sharks are bottom dwellers whom only live in warm waters that are close to the coast. The sharks will only bite if provoked to do so, nurse sharks are located in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Ocean. It is very possible to cross paths with a nurse shark when in shallow waters, considering they live in the shallow. Luckily they’re friendly and there’s a very low chance of being attacked. Like other sharks, nurse sharks are carnivores and have a diet consisting of bottom dwelling prey, which makes sense considering they are bottom dwellers themselve. Their diet concludes of organism’s like spiny lobsters, small stingrays, sea urchins and other crustaceans. Nurse sharks aren’t very picky, which is a common trait amongst most sharks. The design of the sharks mouth, ranging upwards of 1000 tiny teeth is particularly good for crushing prey.

Want to learn more? Check out these awesome sources!

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/n/nurse-shark/?scrlybrkr=0fc37219#close

https://animals.net/nurse-shark/





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