Panasonic DMC-TZ18 in underwater housing
Photo taken in Tobago Cays/Caribbean
The nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum, is a shark in the nurse sharks (Ginglymostomatidae) family, the only member of its genus Ginglymostoma. Nurse sharks can reach a length of 4.3 m (14 ft) and a weight of 330 kg (730 lb). The nurse shark is a common inshore bottom-dwelling shark, found in tropical and subtropical waters on the continental and insular shelves. It is frequently found at depths of one meter or less but may occur down to 75 m (246 ft). Its common habitats are reefs, channels between mangrove islands and sand flats. Nurse sharks are nocturnal animals, spending the day in large inactive groups of up to 40 individuals. Hidden under submerged ledges or in crevices within the reef, the nurse sharks seem to prefer specific resting sites and will return to them each day after the night’s hunting. By night, the sharks are largely solitary; they spend most of their time rifling through the bottom sediments in search of food. Their diet consists primarily of crustaceans, molluscs, tunicates, sea snakes, and other fish, particularly stingrays.