Pseudoginglymostoma brevicaudatum 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Orectolobiformes Ginglymostomatidae

Scientific Name: Pseudoginglymostoma brevicaudatum (Günther, 1867)
Common Name(s):
English Shorttail Nurse Shark
French Requin-nourrice À Queue Courte
Spanish Gata Nodriza Rabicorta
Taxonomic Notes: Previously known as Ginglymostoma brevicaudatum.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A3cd+4cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Nel, R., Yahya, S., Jiddawi, N. & Semesi, S.
Reviewer(s): Cavanagh, R.D., Kyne, P.M. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)
The status of this poorly known endemic species is of concern due to its limited distribution on coral reefs in inshore tropical waters of East Africa and Madagascar (and possibly the Seychelles and Mauritius). Occurring in areas that support heavy inshore artisanal fisheries, it is probably not a targeted species but could be overfished as bycatch. The fins of this shark are known to fetch moderate prices in Tanzania. This species is also likely to be threatened by destruction of its coral reef habitat. Although data are lacking, this species is assessed as Vulnerable due to undoubted heavy pressure from inshore fisheries and habitat destruction, both of which are likely to increase in the future. In addition, it is likely that the subpopulations occurring off East Africa and Madagascar are distinct, thus the "East African subpopulation" may also meet the threatened "B" criterion (due to restricted geographic range).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Madagascar subpopulation is likely to be distinct from the East Africa subpopulation. In addition, if this species is confirmed from Mauritius and the Seychelles, these are also likely to be distinct subpopulations. Thus further studies may reveal that the "East African subpopulation" may in fact also meet the threatened "B" criteria (due to restricted geographic range).
Countries occurrence:
Kenya; Madagascar; Tanzania, United Republic of
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Abundant off East Africa a few decades ago (Bass, D'Aubrey and Kistnasamy, 1975a cited by Compangno 2001), but its current status is uncertain although is known to be still fairly common in catches in Tanzania.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:A little-known inshore (exact depth information is not available) benthic shark found on the continental and insular shelves. Occupies coral reefs. Possibly oviparous, but this requires confirmation (Compagno 2001). A female has been kept in captivity for over 33 years (Compagno 2001).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Fished locally in artisanal fisheries and landed as bycatch of other fisheries. Inshore fishing pressure is heavy throughout its known range. Although it is uncertain whether the species itself is targeted, its fins are known to fetch a moderate price in Tanzania. Destruction and overfishing of this species' habitat (coral reefs). This species is amenable to captivity but its status in the aquarium trade is unknown.

The skin of this species is tough and is possibly used for leather. Amenable to captivity given its size (but status in aquarium trade is unknown). Fins are exported to the Far East and are known to fetch a moderate price. The flesh is salted and dried for local use. Jaws sold locally to tourists.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None in place at present.

Classifications [top]

3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.1. Formal education
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Bianchi, G. 1985. Field guide to the commercial marine and brackish-water species of Tanzania. FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy.

Compagno, L.J.V. 2001. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Vol. 2. Bullhead, mackeral and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). FAO species catalogue for fisheries purposes. No. 1. Vol. 2. FAO, Rome.

IUCN. 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 23 November 2004).

IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group. Specialist Group website. Available at:

Smith, M.M. and Heemstra, P.C (eds.) 1991. Smiths' Sea Fishes. 1st edition. Southern Book Publishers, Johannesburg.

Citation: Nel, R., Yahya, S., Jiddawi, N. & Semesi, S. 2004. Pseudoginglymostoma brevicaudatum. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T44617A10926692. . Downloaded on 24 June 2018.
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