Side note: Sometimes that last part is misspelled.
And, of course, they have a number of common names: “bronze whaler,” “grey shark,” “grey whaler shark,” “longnose blacktail shark,” “shortnose blacktail shark” (which, um, hello, isn’t that contradicting what the name previous to this one was saying?) and “Fowler’s whaler shark” are a few that come to mind.
Also to keep in mind: these names can also apply to other shark species. (Confused, much?)
These sharks are pretty common in the Indo-Pacific, being found anywhere from Easter Island all the way to South Africa. They’re often seen patrolling shallow watered reefs that drop off into the… twilight zone.
Nah, they just drop off. (Please don't get nightmares of the abyss, now)
Y’all remember William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the line, “Though she be but little, she is fierce”? That applies to grey reef sharks (he clearly had them in mind when penning that). They can be aggressive when it comes to hunting, despite their small-ish size, and are one of the sharks known to have threat displays. They have a home territory, too.
They are active all parts of the day, with the peak being during the night time (see previous bit on hunting at night). And, as mentioned before, they are pretty social and rarely territorial. They are quite curious, usually checking divers out before getting bored and moving on (sort of like a cat… with sandpaper skin and lots of sharp teeth).
They are viviparous, and give birth to 1-6 pups every other year. Keeping this in mind, they are caught by many fisheries and can have their populations depleted due to this. They are also caught for their fins and used as fishmeal. Due to all of this, the IUCN has declared this species as “Near Threatened.”
Did YOU know about this species of shark? If not, let us know below!
Have you met these sharks on a dive before? We'd love to hear about your encounter!