Whitetip Reef Shark

Whitetip Reef Shark

The Whitetip Reef Shark is also known as the Triaenodon Obesus. Along with the Blacktip Reef Shark and Gray Reef Shark, it is one of the most frequent sharks in the Indo-Pacific. This species is easily spotted due to its curious, irregular, and waving swimming style and of course, the white tip on its dorsal fin.

As the name implies, these sharks can be found living around the coral reefs. Their preferred depth range is between eight and forty meters, although they have been recorded living much deeper.

At most, it grows to about 2.5 meters and weighs up to 20 kilograms. With its slender shape, grey complexion and pronounced gills, this creature of the sea are hard to miss. whitetip reef sharks are unique among other sharks because they can breathe while stationary. This gives us a great advantage in finding them, as during the day they are usually just hiding under table coral or even just on the seafloor.

Whitetip reef sharks have a fairly different feeding technique to most other sharks. They are relativity slow swimmers, which means they find it much more difficult to stalk down prey in open waters like a blacktip or grey reef would do. Instead, they hunt in the cover of night, where they use their slender bodies to wriggle through the crevices in the reef, looking for animals seeking shelter and sleeping fish.

Their diet consists of a variety of small reef fish, such as; eels, squirrelfish, goatfish, parrotfish, and triggerfish, however, they will also eat crustaceans such as octopus, cuttlefish, crabs and lobsters.

Like many other shark species, whitetip reef sharks are viviparous, which means the eggs are kept in the placenta of the female shark until birth. The male will pursue the female shark for an extended period, after which the male will grasp onto the female by the pectoral fins to move the two into a proper reproductive position. After mating, the female shark will go through a gestation period that lasts between ten to thirteen months, before giving birth to a litter that consists of one-six pups.

The newborn whitetip reef sharks will measure between 50-60 centimeters and will receive no parental care from either parent. It is thought whitetips become sexually active at around five years of age, at which point the males will be roughly one meter in length, and the females will be slightly larger.

It is not hard to spot this species in Bali, we often encounter these sharks during our dive in Padang Bay and Candidasa.

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