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Whitetip Reef Shark



Whitetip Reef Shark




Scientic name..........Triaenodon Obesus

Family name.............Carcharhinidae



Whitetip reef sharks are fairly slender, with conspicuous white tips on the first dorsal and upper caudal fins, and should not be confused with the larger oceanic whitetip shark. They have a very broad short snout, oval eyes, first dorsal fin behind pectorals, second dorsal nearly as large as the first, no interdorsal ridge.


  • SIZE

These sharks can grow up to a maximum length of 7 feet, (2.2m), but rarely more than 5.2 feet, (1.6m). They are born at approximately 20 to 23 inches (52-60cm).



They have medium-sized, pointed teeth with smooth edges, and are flanked with small edges.



Whitetip reef sharks are a greyish-brown shark with brilliant, very conspicuous tips on first dorsal and upper caudal fin. The underside lighter, sometimes scattered dark spots on sides.



They specialise in capturing bottom prey in crevices, holes and caves in coral heads and ledges, located by scent and sound, sometimes in packs. Because of their tooth structure and short broad snout they can pursue prey into reef crevices, where they cannot escape.



Whitetip reef sharks are nocturnal, so they are more active at night and during slack tide. They have a small home range occupied for months or years. These sharks are social but not territorial as they can share home range without conflict. They can become accustomed to the sounds of boats and to spear fishers, and are aroused by the presence of divers, approaching them out of curiosity. So they are readily attracted to bait and may be handfed by divers, but with caution.



Red Sea, Indian Ocean, central Pacific, and tropical eastern Pacific. They are found on continental and island terraces. Usually found on or near bottom crevices or caves in coral reefs, and in coral lagoons in shallow clear water. These sharks are most commonly found close to shore at depths of 36 to 130 feet ( 8-40m), but ranging from 3.2ft. to 1082.7 ft.(1-330m).



Whitetip reef sharks are viviparous, and bear litters of 1 to 5 pups, (commonly 2 to 3 ) after a short gestation period of least five months, and are approximately 20 to 24 inches long ( 50-60cm ). It has been estimated that these sharks mature in 5 years, and their longevity is at least 25 years.



Potentially dangerous, but rarely aggressive only if they are mistreated. Although some foolhardy divers have lost a hand when feeding members squid and fish.



Often very common, but restricted depth range and habitat and small litter size suggest that increasing fishing pressure may be a threat.

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