Fish and Coral Information
Whitetip Reef Shark
The whitetip reef shark, Triaenodon obesus, is a requiem shark of the family Carcharhinidae, the only member of the genus Triaenodon.
Habitat and distribution
The whitetip reef shark is one of the most common sharks found in shallow tropical and warm temperate water around coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans. It occurs at depths down to 330 metres (1,100 ft). Snorkelers often encounter these sharks.
Anatomy and appearance
As its name suggests, the tips of the shark's first dorsal fin and upper caudal fin are white. The upper body is grey/brownish. Their average length is about 140 to 160 centimetres (55 to 63 in) and the maximum reported length is 2.1 metres (6 ft 11 in). ts head is broad and flat.
The whitetip reef shark feeds primarily on crustaceans and fish.
This bottom dwelling shark is nocturnal and is often seen resting on the bottom during the day, sometimes in small groups. It is not aggressive and will generally swim away if disturbed, although it may bite if harassed. At night it hunts among crevices in the reef.
Reproduction is viviparous, with one to five pups in a litter, the gestation period being at least five months. The shark's size at birth ranges from 50 centimetres (20 in) to 60 centimetres (24 in). It is estimated that this shark can live for about 25 years and it reaches maturity after about five years.