Identity card

LATIN NAME: Ginglymostoma cirratum

FAMILY: Ginglymostomatidae

PHYLUM : Chordata

CLASS : Chondrichthyes

The nurse shark lives close to the coast in tropical waters. It can be recognised by its flat head and small eyes.

It lives on the seabed and in shallow coastal waters, from the intertidal zone down to 130 metres.

The nurse shark eats bony fish, rays, invertebrates and also seaweed and carrion. With its barbels and highly-developed sense of smell, it can find prey hiding in the sea floor.
It can grow to 4.5 metres.

This species is ovoviviparous. Once the eggs have hatched, around 30 juveniles will be expelled from the female’s body once they have grown to around 30 centimetres.

  • Distribution :

    Intertropical coastal zone of the Atlantic and eastern Pacific.
  • IUCN Status :

    Data deficient.

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Did you know ?

Find out more about the Nurse shark

It is called the nurse shark because of the way it feeds by sucking up its prey, like a feeding baby.

NAUSICAA’s nurse shark is a female measuring 2.30 metres. It is estimated to be thirty years old and is one of NAUSICAA’s oldest residents!




Crédits photo du bandeau : © A.Rosenfeld
Crédits photo de la galerie : © NAUSICAA / A.Rosenfeld

Activities AT NAUSICAA


Every day, there are events focused on Nausicaa’s main species. With training and feeding sessions and talks on life in Europe’s largest aquarium, your visit will be a rich and entertaining experience!
Learn about the life of fishes, hear some surprising stories and enjoy the antics of some amazing animals.

Meet our 58 000 animals