The Whitetip Reef Shark

Home » The species of the month » The Whitetip Reef Shark

Sometimes called the « coral shark », the whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus) can be confused with the Nurse shark. Both have a grey-colored elongated body. The whitetip reef shark presents many dark spots and a whitish underside. As its name suggests, it can be distinguished by white markings on the tips of the dorsal and caudal fins.

The whitetip reef shark can be found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It measures up to 5.6 ft with a record size known of about 7 ft. It has a short flat rounded muzzlewith well-developed appendix. This shark lives around oceanic slopes as deep as 980 ft. Sexually mature at 5 years old, the whitetip shark can live up to 25 years.

The white tip reef shark

The white tip reef shark
This animal is really active at night.

Indeed, once night has fallen, the whitetip shark hunts small fish, crustaceans or octopus. It frenetically searches for its preys moving as a snake through the coral gardens.

“ It owns an impressive jaw with about 3 000 teeth that renew every three days. ”

This shark is a predator as well as a scavenger. It owns an impressive jaw with about 3 000 teeth that renew every three days. During the day, it is a really “lazy” animal that stay lying on the sandy bottom close to the corals. As you know, a shark has to move to breathe. The whitetip reef shark stay near the current using its power to oxygenate without moving. What an ingenious method !!

You could encounter this inoffensive shark in all Polynesian archipelagos without any difficulties. It is a really common species of the shallow waters, a perfect opportunity for underwater photographers.

© Photos : V.Truchet, Girardot


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recents articles

The Tiki – Moorea

Three Spanish friends joined me in Moorea for a few days of vacation. All excellent divers, I asked François (TOPDIVE Moorea center manager) to organize a beautiful dive for us for the occasion. Quite naturally, he proposed for us to discover the «...

The Great Barracuda

The Great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) appears as the “giant” of the barracuda family. It measures around 6.5ft; it is the most impressive species in size. This long fish can weigh up to 110 Lbs. It has a silver-grey color that makes the species...

The Nurse shark

The Nurse shark is sometimes called the « Nebrius ferrugineus » or the ma’o rohoi in the Tahitian language. It measures up to 10,5ft and weighs around 220lbs at adulthood. The Nurse shark often lives on the sandy sea bottoms. This sedentary shark...

The buoy – Tikehau

After 15 years living in French Polynesia, I was looking forward to visiting Tikehau for the first time. Its main village “Tuherahera” is about 2km long and home to roughly 500 people. This beautiful atoll offers incredible Polynesian hospitality at...
Share This