The Gray Reef Shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) is one of the most common sharks found around coral reefs of Indo-Pacific waters.
Gray Reef Shark.
As its name suggests, the shark is gray overall, with a white underside. The tips of most fins, except the first dorsal fin, are darker, and the trailing edge of the caudal fin has a prominent black margin. Some individuals have a white pattern on the leading edge of the dorsal fin. It has been recorded at up to 255 cm. The Blacktip Reef Shark looks similar, and also common, but is distinguished by a black tip on the first dorsal fin.
Reproduction is viviparous, with 1-6 pups in a litter.
This species is social, aggregating in favored areas, often near dropoffs at the edge of a reef, or in atoll passes where there is a strong current. They are often curious, will investigate human scuba divers, and have been implicated in attacks, although there is some debate as to whether the sharks are fundamentally aggressive or have simply reacted badly to perceived threats by divers. They have been observed to adopt a distinctive "hunching" posture when feeling threatened, the body bent into a sort of "S" shape.
The numbers of Gray Reef Sharks have declined in recent years.
FishBase info for gray reef shark (http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Carcharhinus&speciesname=amblyrhynchos)
Elasmo Research page on agonistic behavior (http://www.elasmo-research.org/education/topics/b_agonism.htm)
This is one of the three most common reefsharks in the Indo-Pacific, the two others are the Blacktip reefshark and Whitetip reefshark.
While the grayreefshark has not been identified as endangered as of yet, depletion of the species has been noticed around the Maldive Islands, and may be occurring in other parts of its range.
The fltip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) and the fltip reefshark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) can be distinguised by a fl tip on the dorsal fin, while the dorsal fin of C. amblyrhynchos is white or grey.
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