Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos have sleek, fusiform bodies that are unmistakable for anything but a shark. Key physical features include the anal fin, five gill slits, and a mouth positioned behind the eyes and underneath the snout. Additionally, grey reef sharks appear grey from a distance, but show a bronze tint when viewed up close. They have a white underside and are distinguished by a broad black band on the edge of the tail and black markings on the tips of the pectoral fins. The dorsal fin is either grey or tipped white. They have a long, broadly rounded snout and round eyes. They are lacking an interdorsal fin. (Murphy, 1993)
Males grow up to 255 cm in length, and are 130-145 cm long at maturity, while females are a bit smaller, maturing at 120-135 cm, with a record length of 172 cm. Males are distinguished by the elongate mating claspers on their pelvic fins. The maximum published weight for an individual of this species is 33.7 kg, but large males may be heavier. (Compagno, 1984; Fishbase, 2003; Godknecht, 2004; Murphy, 1993)
Grey reef sharks can be easily mistaken for similar species of requiem sharks. The blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) and the blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) can be distinguised by a black tip on the dorsal fin, while the dorsal fin of C. amblyrhynchos is white or grey. Similarly, the silvertip shark (Carcharhinus albimarginatus) has white tips on its pectoral and caudal fins, while C. amblyrhynchos does not. (Godknecht, 2004)
Other Physical Features: Ectothermic; Heterothermic; Bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: Male larger
- Compagno, L. 1984. Sharks of the World. Rome: United Nations Development Programme.
- Murphy, G. 1993. Grey Reef Shark. Skin Diver, v42 n11: 138.