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Species Hierarchy 
Common name: SHARK - TAWNY NURSE


Species Info:

This lifeform is found widely in the Indian Ocean. The brown color will help identify this lifeform. This lifeform is threatened and might become extinct.

Tawny Nurse Shark (Nebrius ferugineus) is found north of Australia and north to Japan and west from Australia through Indonesia to both shores of India and also further west near Saudi Arabia. This shark is normally a brown color. This shark normally grows to about nine or ten feet long. This species is found in shallow waters and consequently is frequently taken by fisherman. This species has been eliminated from several of its previous locales. Small litters and limited dispersion limit the abilities of this species to reestablish lost populations.

Nurse Sharks and Carpet Sharks (Family Orectolobidae) are found worldwide in warmer waters. The greatest concentration of species is from the island area between Malaysia and Australia. Many members of this family (except the Rhincodontidae) have an unusual long tail with membranes both above and below. The following are typical of the larger members of this family:

   Nurse Shark        Ginglysmostoma cirratum   Atlantic Ocean
   Zebra Shark        Stegostoma fasciatus      Indo-Pacific
   Banded Wobbegong   Orectolobus ornatus       Near Australia
   Spotted Wobbegong  Orectolobus maculatus     Near S. Australia

Some authors raise this family to an order, and then divide this new order into several families including Parascylliidae, Orectolobidae, Hemiscylliidae, Ginglymostomatidae, Stegostamatidae, and Rhincodontidae. The new order contains about 33 species.

True Shark group (Order Lamniformes) contains the majority of the world's species of living sharks. They are characterized by  having five gill slits. Some taxonomists recognize over fifteen families in this order.

Sharks and rays (Elasmobranchi), cartilaginous fishes, deserve to be a class separate from the normal fish, in that they do not have a bone skeleton but rather a cartilage skeleton.

Fertilization is internal in this class which also separates them from the bony fish class. Although there are a few fresh water species, the majority of the species in this class are found in salt water. As of 2005, there were about 500 known species of sharks and about 600 known species of rays.

David Ebert, author of a recent book on sharks, rays, and chimaeras of California, counts a total of 988 described species in the class with about 150 additional species awaiting scientific description. He breaks down the described species to 410 species of sharks, 543 species of rays, and 35 species of chimaeras.

Backboned Animals (Phylum Chordata) are the most advanced group of animals on earth. These animals are characterized by having a spinal cord or backbone. Most members have a clearly defined brain that controls the organism through a spinal cord. Fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals are in this phylum.

Currently, some taxonomists believe that the fish should be divided into two groups (sharks and regular fishes) and that there are some other primitive groups in the phylum such as hagfish or lampreys.

Animal Kingdom contains numerous organisms that feed on other animals or plants. Included in the animal kingdom are the lower marine invertebrates such as sponges and corals, the jointed legged animals such as insects and spiders, and the backboned animals such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.


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