Shark profiles‎ > ‎

Reef shark

Scientific Name - Carcharias amblyrhynchos

A medium-sized to large shark with a moderately long, broadly rounded snout and a black-edged caudal fin. This species will perform a threat-display when approached too closely or startled by unusual sounds or quick movements. The display consists of an exaggerated swimming pattern in which the shark wags its head and tail in broad sweeps, arches its back, lifts its head, and sometimes swims in a horizontal spiral or figure-8 loop in front of its perceived aggressor.
Scientific Classification
  • Order: Carcharhiniformes
  • Family: Carcharhinidae
  • Genus: Carcharhinus
  • Species: amblyrhynchos
  • Scientific Name: Carcharias amblyrhynchos

Life Expectancy

22-28 years

Dangerous to Man?

No (unless meddled with) - Although it is one of the most aggressive sharks, the grey reef shark will usually only attack a person when it is threatened. Even so, it has been responsible for 7 unprovoked attacks resulting in no fatalities according to the International Shark Attack File. This shark often shows curiosity and often approaches divers. If cornered or threatened is some way, the shark will display threat behavior explicitly. It will raise its snout, depress the pectoral fins, and arch its back while swimming with an exaggerated sway. If the threat continues, the shark will move with lightening speed, delivering quite bites prior to retreating. Although the bites are often serious, they are rarely fatal. This species of shark is also more likely to attack while solitary rather than schooling perhaps due to an increased feeling of vulnerability.

Conservation Status

The grey reef shark is vulnerable to overfishing due to its restricted habitat, small litter size, and relatively late age of maturity. These factors, along with an increase in unmanaged fishing pressure, make this shark vulnerable to threats.The grey reef shark is currently listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as "Near Threatened".


These are smaller species of shark; adults reaching a maximum length of about 2m long.


These viviparous sharks have litters of 2-4 pups after 16 month gestation period.
Reef fishes, with small quantities of cephalopods (squid and octopus), and crustaceans (shrimp, lobster, crabs), provide the majority of the grey reef sharks' prey. Reef shark prey also includes bony fish including cowfish, surgeonfish, and butterflyfish.
Other Names
grey reef shark, blacktail reef shark, black-vee whaler, bronze whaler, gray reef shark, gray shark, gray whaler shark, longnose blacktail shark, shark, and whaler shark.

Top speed of 40km/h (25mph)


20-30kg (44-66lbs)


Unknown, although grey reef sharks are very common among other shark species.