To see photographs of the Grey Reef Shark (Carcharhinus
amblyrhynchos) click here.
Grey Reef Shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos)
All images and text on this
page are copyright protected: © 2010 Kelvin Aitken.
All rights reserved. Students may use this information for
personal research only. Not for commercial use.
Taxonomic name: Carcharhinus
Of the whaler sharks the Grey Reef Shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos)
is one of the most common species found on tropical coral reefs. Despite
only growing to 1.8 m long, it is one to be respected due to its territorial
and assertive behaviour. Many studies have been undertaken which show
that the Grey Reef Shark will attack if cornered, provoked or threatened.
Its nature could be compared to that of a frisky dog with a bone.
Diving with Grey Reef Sharks
Grey Reef Sharks are very popular on shark dives. When divers enter the
water, they often swim in rapidly, no doubt attracted by the commotion
caused by noisy divers. They then usually swim away to patrol their reef.
When accustomed to people in the water they will put on a dazzling display
which may culminate in a feeding frenzy, all with minimum danger to the
While other sharks may display aggressive body language, none are more
explicit than the Grey Reef Shark. Typical warning displays are an arched
back, dropped pectoral fins and an exaggerated swaying swimming motion.
If deliberately provoked the shark may then attack with lightening speed
to deliver one or more bites before swimming away. While the bites are
serious they are rarely fatal. People most often attacked are those spearfishing
or careless divers that corner an animal in a reef canyon.
Tests with underwater speakers have shown that Grey Reef Sharks are attracted
by low-frequency vibrations similar to those put out by struggling fish.