Creature Feature: Whitetip Reef Shark

Whitetip-reef-shark-feeding-on-fish-at-night Jeff Rotman Arkive

Our shark adventure continues in Australia as we learn about the Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenadon obesus). As you might guess, Whitetip Reef Sharks have distinct white coloration on the tips of many of their fins. Whitetips have slender bodies that help them move swiftly throughout reef structures. These sharks are 5.3 feet long on average, but have been reported as large as 7 feet.

Female-whitetip-reef-shark-showing-mating-scars Ron and Valerie Taylor ArkiveYou will find these sharks during the day lounging around in caves and on sandy bottoms throughout coral reef habitats. They are known to stay close to home and come back to the same resting area each day. They don’t mind sharing their space with other Whitetips and you can even see masses of these reef sharks lying on top of each other.

Whitetips are most active and feed at night. They eat octopus and crustaceans and some bony fishes that you would find close to coral structures. They search for their prey along the benthos (bottom). Once Whitetips find their prey they will chase it until caught, even pursuing prey into small crevices throughout the coral. The slender body, tough skin, and eye ridges help protect this shark while hunting in tight places.

Join us next week as we look at sharks who live in colder waters.

Edited by Felicia Van Stolk

Photography:  Jeff Rotman and Ron and Valerie Taylor courtesy of ARKIVE

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