Nebrius ferrugineus   (Lesson,  1830) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Elasmobranchii

Image copyrights: Banks, I.

Size: Max length 320 cm TL (male/unsexed); common length 250 cm TL (male/unsexed).

Color: Body sandy brown or rusty brown, lighter below, with the fins slightly darkened particularly near the tips.

A large, relatively stout-bodied shark with a short precaudal tail. Head with 5 moderate gill slits, the last two behind pectoral origin and very close to each other; no gillrakers; nostrils close to front of snout, with short barbels and nasoral grooves connecting them with the mouth; no nictitating lower eyelids; snout very short, broad and very broadly rounded or truncated; mouth nearly transverse and far forward on head, well in front of eyes; teeth small, weakly differentiated in different regions of the mouth, somewhat compressed, with short medial cusps and short cusplets on sides. Two dorsal fins, both with angular apices, the origin of the first about over the pelvic origins and its insertion slightly behind the pelvic insertions; second dorsal slightly smaller than first; anal fin present, high and with an angular apex, and with its origin about under the midbase of the second dorsal fin; caudal fin about 1/3 of total length, strongly asymmetrical, with a strong subterminal notch but with ventral lobe weak to short. Caudal peduncle not strongly depressed, without lateral keels or precaudal pits; no dermal ridges on sides of body. Intestinal valve of ring type.

Dioecious, internal (oviduct) fertilization, internal live bearers. Ovoviviparous, with number of young at least four per uterus; gives birth to litters of at about 8 pups. Described as an oviparous or post-oviparous shark that retains the egg-cases until they hatch and the young are born.

Synonym (s)
Ginglymostoma concolor (Ruppell, 1837)
(Junior synonym)
Ginglymostoma ferruginea (Lesson, 1831)
(Senior synonym)
Ginglymostoma ferrugineum (Lesson, 1831)
(Senior synonym)
Ginglymostoma muelleri Gunther, 1870
(Junior synonym)
Ginglymostoma rueppellii Bleeker, 1852
(Junior synonym)
Nebrius concolor Ruppell, 1837
(Junior synonym)
Nebrius doldi Smith, 1953
(Junior synonym)
Nebrius macrurus (Garman, 1913)
(Junior synonym)
Nebrodes concolor ogilbyi Whitley, 1934
(Junior synonym)
Nebrodes macrurus Garman, 1913
(Junior synonym)
Scyllium ferrugineum Lesson, 1831
(Senior synonym)
Scymnus porosus Ehrenberg, 1871
(Junior synonym)
Ginglymostoma mulleri Gunther : Day, 1878
Ginglymostoma concolor (Ruppell) : Day, 1888
Nebrius concolor Misra, 1969
Nebrius ferrugineum Misra, 1969

Common Name (s)
• Giant Sleepy Shark (English)
• Nurse Shark (English)
• Rusty Shark (English)
• Sleepy Shark (English)
• Spitting Shark (English)
• Tawny Nurse Shark (English)
• Tawny Shark (English)
• Moron (Malayalam)
• Nadammiyaru (Malayalam)
• Sunera (Marathi)
• Nidammiyaru (Mahl)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial, Dangers
(Fisheries, gamefish. Marketed fresh and dried-salted; fins dried for the oriental sharkfin trade; liver processed for vitamins and oil; offal processed for fishmeal; hide potentially valuable for leather.
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Nebrius ferrugineus often form small aggregations during the day and have a limited home range, with individuals returning to the same area every day after foraging. This behaviour together with small litter size, large size at maturity and inshore habitat suggest that it is vulnerable to local population depletion in areas of heavy fishing pressure. Furthermore, its docility and habit of resting in caves and crevices during the day make it susceptible to capture and harassment by divers, and reef destruction.)

Habitat:  Reef Associated, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Tertiary Consumer
Prey:  Small fishes, cephalopods, crustaceans and sea urchins
IUCN Status:  Vulnerable


• Kerala, Kochi INDIA (Record: 2000-2002)
• Maharashtra, Amba Estuary INDIA
• Kerala, Kochi Fisheries Harbour INDIA (Record: 01/2008-06/2009)

Literature Source(s)
  • Ali, S and Ripley, SD (1989) Compact handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan (II edition) Oxford University Press, New Delhi 39823
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Compagno, LJV; Last, PR; Stevens, JD and MNR, Alava (2005) Checklist of Philippine Chondrichthyes CSIRO Marine Laboratories 104 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Rouphael, T; Turak, E and Jon, B Seagrasses and mangroves of Yemen's Red Sea 41-89
  • Hussain, SM Brief report on biodiversity in the coastal areas of Pakistan p 113
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Letourneur, Y; Chabanet, P; Durville, P; Taquet, M; Teissier, E; Parmentier, M; Quero, JC and Pothin, K (2004) An updated checklist of the marine fish fauna of Reunion Island, south-western Indian Ocean Cybium 28(3) 199-216
  • Compagno, LJV (1984) FAO species catalogue: Sharks of the world: An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1. Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes FAO Fisheries Synopsis 4(1-124) 1-249 Available at - ZOOR12100022832
  • Allen, GR (2005) Reef fishes of northwestern Madagascar RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 31 39-48
  • Chabanet, P and Patrick, D (2005) Reef Fish Inventory of Juan De Novas Natural Park (Western Indian Ocean) Western Indian Ocean Journal Marine Sciences 2005 WIOMSA 4 145-162
  • Allen, GR and Mohammed, A (2003) Coral Reef Fishes of Indonesia Zoological Studies 42(1) 26299 Available at - Digital Information Resource Center, Pune.
  • Joshi, KK; Balachandran, K and Raje, SG (2008) Changes in the shark fishery at Cochin Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin, India 50(1) 103-105 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Talwar, PK and Kacker, RK (1984) Commercial sea fishes of India ZSI, Calcutta 997 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Gajbhiye, SN; Mehta, P; Mustafa, S and Nair, VR (1995) A case study on the impact of industrial effluents disposal on the fisheries of Amba river estuary, Maharastra Journal of the Indian Fisheries Association Indian Fisheries Association 25 25-38 Available at -
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 5 Available at -
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -
  • Akhilesh, KV; Ganga, U; Pillai, NGK; Vivekanandan, E; Bineesh, KK; Shanis, CPR and Hashim, M (2011) Deep-sea fishing for chondrichthyan resources and sustainability concerns-a case study from southwest coast of India Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences NISCAIR 40(3) 347-355 Available at -

Page last updated on:2012-02-20

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