Lixa Shark Ginglymostoma Cirratum, Known As Nurse Shark

The Sand Shark is a quiet animal, but it can become aggressive if accidentally stepped on or disturbed.

Lixa Shark Ginglymostoma Cirratum, Known As Nurse Shark
Lixa Shark Ginglymostoma Cirratum, Known As Nurse Shark

This species also has an edible meat, but its main value would be the skin that is used to make a very resistant type of leather.

So, read on and learn more details, including feeding, breeding, trivia and distribution.


  • Scientific name – Ginglymostoma cirratum;
  • Family – Ginglymostomatidae.

Features of the Shark Lixa

The Shark Lixa also goes by the common names Shark-nurse or lambaru, in addition to being a member of the Orectolobiformes order.

Thus, the main common name is a reference to the animal’s custom of swimming close to the ground as if it were sandpaper.

The fish’s teeth are small but powerful, in addition to being pointed.

The gill folds are in front of the origin of the pectoral fins and the animal has a long snout.

The fins have rounded tips, while the second dorsal fin is smaller than the first.

The flanks and dorsal surface are cream-yellow in color, as are some brown and red spots on the body.

Otherwise, the ventral surface has a light tone, as individuals can reach 4 m in total length and 500 kg in weight.

Finally, fish live 25 years.

Types of Shark Lixa

There are two types of Shark Lixa, the small and the large.

Small individuals are twice as small in length and weight, in addition to having red spots.

Otherwise, large fish have gray and crescent-shaped spots.

Therefore, despite appearing to be of another species, individuals can be small or large.

Reproduction of the Shark Lixa

First of all, know that the species is Ovoviviparous and has adelphophagy.

That is, the chicks develop in an egg that is inside the mother’s body and soon after hatching, they can resort to uterine cannibalism to nourish themselves.

Thus, the female generates two offspring per pregnancy and at birth, only one Lixa Shark prevails with about 1 m.

The gestation period lasts from 8 to 10 months and the fish reach sexual maturity between 15 and 20 years of age.

Regarding sexual dimorphism, the only characteristic that differentiates males and females is size.

While mature males measure between 2.2 and 2.57 m, they only reach 1.2 to 2 m.


The Shark Shark is present at the bottom of the ocean and eats squid, octopus, shrimp, crabs, lobsters and other animals.

An interesting body feature would be the goatee that helps the animal hunt at night.

In addition, his sensory organs help him in hunting because he can perceive certain odors at distances of almost 0.5 km.

Another important point would be your hearing.

When the animal is in clear and clear water, it can identify prey that are moving from 15 m away.

In deep water, individuals use their eyesight to hunt.

In this way, know that this species perceives frequencies of light imperceptible to the human eye.

It is also common for fish to form groups to surround schools and feed.

To attack, they can also zigzag under schools of herring, causing victims to rise to the surface.

Finally, they search for food at a depth that varies from 40 to 400 m.


The Lixa Shark has a sedentary way of life because it stays still for long periods, especially during the day.

So the preferred locations are shallow waters or sandy bottoms and they are stacked one on top of the other.

With this, it is possible for sharks to form piles with up to 30 members of the species.

When we consider their behavior during the night, it is possible to notice great activity and voracity.

In fact, the species is denser than water, but it manages to retain air in its stomach, something that makes the fish regulate its buoyancy.

Finally, the shark takes the oxygen out of the water through the gills.

Thus, when the animal swims, it forces water to enter through its mouth and gills, unlike other species of fish.

But, know that the species does not have gill cover, a bony plate that protects the gills.

On the other hand, the animal has five to seven slits in the skin, on each side of the head, so water comes out through the slits after the gills extract oxygen.

Where to find the Shark Lixa

The Shark Lixa can stay in shallow water or on the ocean floor.

The most common depth for the species would be 60 m, as it prefers calm and warm waters.

Some fish also stay in natural pools and the young stay among the roots of red mangroves.

They can also swim in schools so that they can easily reproduce and feed.

Finally, the animal’s main characteristic is migration, so it moves to higher latitudes in the summer and towards the equator in the winter and autumn.

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