Caribbean Reef Shark (Carcharhinus perezi) are in the family Carcharhinidae. They are most abundant in the South-Western Atlantic ocean, although they can be found from the coast of Georgia to the southern coast of Brazil.

Carribean Reef Shark by Leineabstiegsschleuse via Wikimedia Commons

Size, Shape, and Overall body form of Caribbean Reef Shark :

Size: 6ft – 10ft Adult Size Shark

Color: Silvery Grey and Greyish brown with a white underside.

Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi). Illustration courtesy FAO, Species Identification and Biodata

Shape :

1. Snout is rounded defined by the short features

2. Pectoral fins are long in length and skinny in appearance

3. The dorsal fins are used to navigate and are short as well

Conservation status:

The Conservation of this species is monitored by International Union for Conservation of Nature. This organization rates the level of which a species is threatened in the wild.

The Caribbean Reef Shark status can be found here

Habitat and Behavior :

These sharks prefer to swim about the reef near the bottom hunting small boney fish in isolation. The Caribbean Reef Shark has evolved to hunt at the bottom depths having an extrasensory gland that allows these sharks to hear extra low frequency sounds making hunting for panicking fish easier. In Brazil, these sharks have been documented to hide in small caves to hunt prey and to rest. This is one of the only species of sharks that lie motionless to sleep versus counterpart species such as great white sharks that swim while sleeping.

Human interactions:

Caribbean Reef Sharks are not deadly to humans typically but will be if they feel threatened or are provoked. If you are more curious about the number of attacks each type of shark species has on humans and if they were deadly check out this link: Shark attack records

Tropical Role of Caribbean Reef Sharks :

Like many sharks, the Caribbean Reef Shark is an apex predator. They fear nothing and eat a healthy diet of cephalopods and small boney fish. They also have a mutualistic relationship with smaller fish that almost piggyback on the shark. They swim close to the bottom jaw and assist the sharks in sometimes finding prey and getting the scraps of the kill. In addition, surgeonfish, goby, and other cleaner fish will pick off algae or any type of parasites growing on the sharks when the sharks rest near sites containing these species.

Want to see these sharks in the wild check out this video on youtube of Caribbean Reef Sharks in the wild: Nature Habitat of Reef Sharks


The information in this chapter is thanks to content contributions from Tim Brodeur


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A Student's Guide to Tropical Marine Biology Copyright © by by Keene State College Students, BIO 381 Tropical Marine Biology is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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