What types of sharks are in the Great Barrier Reef?
If you are preparing to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef, you may be wondering what to expect on your diving there. But also if you’re like me and keen to scuba dive with sharks, you might be asking how many species of sharks there are in the great barrier reef. Let’s take a look…
How many species of sharks are there in the great barrier? The Great Barrier Reef is home to around 134 sharks and rays, which represents 27% of all living sharks species. There are around 512 extant (or living) species of sharks and rays in our oceans. These 134 species of shark share the reef with about 1,500 species of other fish and 6 out of the 7 species of sea turtles.
The best way to dive the Great Barrier Reef, Australia is by a scuba diving liveaboard. You can check the latest and best deals on Great Barrier Reef liveaboards using the following window:
How many species of sharks are there in the great barrier reef?
According to the World Wild Life there are 134 species of shark that live on the Great Barrier Reef. When I talk about shark species, I am including in this total rays too.
Sharks and rays belong to the sames cartilaginous species of fish, where their skeleton is made of soft cartilage instead of bone.
More Reading: What are the similarities between sharks and rays (14 characteristics)
What are the most likely sharks to spot on the Great Barrier Reef?
Whilst it’s possible to see all species of shark on a scuba diving trip to the GBR, it’s very unlikely. Which means there are a number of sharks you are more likely to see. But what can you expect from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site?
What types of sharks are in the Great Barrier Reef:
- Whitetip reef sharks: The most common species of shark found on the GBR.
- Blacktip reef sharks: the second most common shark species found on the GBR
- Grey reefs sharks: Less likely to be seen than whitetip and blacktip reef sharks, but still top of the likely list of sharks to spot.
- Leopard sharks: The unmistakable spotted skin of the leopard shark is a treat when spotted by scuba divers of the GBR.
- The epaulette shark: Know for being able to walk on land!
- Tasselled wobbegong sharks: Strange looking bottom dwelling sharks.
- Whale sharks: The largest shark and fish in the ocean and are less likely to be seen. But you’re better off diving from a Great Barrier Reef liveaboard dive boat if you want to see a whale shark, as despite their enormous size, they are not as easy to see as the other sharks in this list.
- Lemon sharks: Not so common, but are still on the list of sharks to spot.
- Tiger sharks: These top predatory sharks are less common to spot on the GBR, but are seen. Tiger sharks have a reputation for attacking humans, but it’s extremely rare for shark attacks on scuba divers.
- Bull sharks: Probably the most aggressive shark in the ocean (even more so than the Great White Shark). Bull sharks produce more testosterone than any other animal on the planet!
- Nurse sharks: You tend to find Tawny nurse sharks hidden under coral and rocky overhangs resting on the sand.
- Manta rays: Manta rays are majestic ‘flyers’ of the oceans. They have a large wing span and glide past in silence.
- Various species of rays and sting ray: There are many rays you’ll spot on your dives on the GBR, including the beautiful spotted eagle ray. But the most common ray seen being the blue spotted lagoon ray.
What is the most common shark to see on the Great Barrier Reef?
Whilst the Great Barrier Reef is home to numerous species of sharks, the most common species of sharks seen on the Great Barrier Reef are White-tip or Black-tip reef sharks.
The other species of shark like tasselled wobbegong sharks, tiger sharks and hammerhead sharks are not so common to see there.
You will not see great white sharks on the Great Barrier Reef
If your question about how many species of sharks there are in the Great Barrier Reef was due to your fear of sharks; let me first explain that you’re extremely unlikely to be attacked by one as a scuba diver.
This is because it’s not dangerous to dive with sharks, so long as you don’t provoke them.
But also you may be wondering whether or not there are great white sharks on the Great Barrier Reef. Of the sharks in the Great Barrier Reef, there are no Great White Sharks living there.
The reason for this is the waters are too warm for them. But also the prey Great Whites feast on don’t live in the waters around the GBR.
More Reading: Why do the great white sharks congregate around Neptune Island?
What is the most dangerous animal in the Great Barrier Reef?
The most dangerous animal on the Great Barrier Reef is the Blue-Ringed Octopus. The Blue-Ringed Octopus is one of the most dangerous and deadly marine animals in the world in fact!
Which means that you may be left surprised to learn it wasn’t any of the 134 species of shark on the Great Barrier Reef that are the most dangerous animals there. You there need not concern yourself with worry about diving with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef.
I hope you enjoyed this article about how many species of sharks are there in the great barrier reef
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkelling. Please use the comments section below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof go-pro’s!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkelling or scuba diving (or specifically about how many species of sharks are there in the great barrier reef), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about scuba and scuba diving safety tips (and on snorkelling too) for you to read and learn about this fabulous sport.
Have fun and be safe!