Whitetip Reef SharkPhotos, Pictures, Prints

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Triaenodon obesus

Whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus) is a species of requiem shark, in the family Carcharhinidae. A small shark of less than 1.6 m (5.2 ft), this species boasts a slender body and short but broad head. It also displays tubular skin flaps beside the nostrils, oval eyes with vertical pupils, and white-tipped dorsal and caudal fins.

One of the most common sharks found on Indo-Pacific coral reefs, the whitetip occurs as far west as South Africa and as far east as Central America. It typically lives near the bottom in clear water, at a depth of 8–40 m (26–131 ft).

During the day, whitetip reef sharks spend much of their time resting in caves. Unlike other requiem sharks, which must constantly swim to breathe, this shark can pump water over its gills and lie still on the bottom. At night, whitetip reef sharks emerge to hunt bony fishes, crustaceans, and octopus. Their elongate bodies allow them to force their way into crevices and holes to extract hidden prey.

Individuals may stay within an area of the reef for months or years, frequently returning to the same shelter. Additionally, this species is viviparous. Females give birth to one to six pups every other year, after a gestation period of 10–13 months.

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