The whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus) is a requiem shark in the Carcharhinidae family with a widespread distribution in tropical and subtropical Indian and Pacific Oceans. #Finfact: They are the only member of its genus!
Found around 10–40 metres deep around coastal reefs, these animals are seen resting in caves. In fact, TFUI founder Melissa has seen them as well! They are one of the most common sharks found on Indo-Pacific coral reefs! Whitetip reef sharks are found in lagoons and near drop-offs to deeper water, too. Primarily nocturnal, they hunt for small bony fish and other prey (such as crustaceans and octopus) in those caves and crevices in groups. The whitetip reef sharks live to about 16 years, and females have a gestation period of at least five months (they are viviparous). The maximum size for these sharks is around 2 metres total length (TL).
The maximum weight for these animals has been reported at around 18.3 kg (40 lb). They have a slim body, broad head, and flattened snout with skin flaps below. Their eyes are small and oval and rest below ridges. A whitetip reef shark looks like a permanent grump with a downward mouth.
This animal has a restricted habitat and depth range, have small litters and moderately mature late. This means that with increased fishing pressure, this species may become threatened. I wouldn't eat them if I were you- some people have gotten ciguatera poisoning from their meat! Currently the IUCN has assessed these animals as Near Threatened (NT).
DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS ANIMAL?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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