Whitetip reef shark
|Whitetip reef shark|
The whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon Obesus), is a species of requiem shark. The whitetip reef shark is the only known species of the genus "Triaenodon". The whitetip reef shark gets its name because the tips of its dorsal fins and caudal fin are bright white. The whitetip reef shark is one of the most common sharks found on Indo-Pacific coral reefs.
The whitetip reef shark is a small species of shark; very few whitetip reef sharks can grow longer than the length of 1.6 meters (5.2 ft). The longest ever found was 2.1 meters (6.9 ft), and the heaviest ever found weighed 18.3 kg (40 Ib). It has a slim body and a short, broad head. The snout is flat and blunt and has large flaps of skin which hang in front of the nostrils. It also has small, oval shaped eyes.
During the daytime whitetip reef sharks spend their time resting in underwater caves. At nighttime they come out of their caves and hunt for food. whitetip reef sharks eat bony fish, crustaceans and octopus. With the help of their slim body, whitetip reef sharks can force their way into small holes to find hidden prey. Unlike other requiem sharks who have to keep on swimming to breath, whitetip reef sharks can lie still on the bottom of the reef and can pump water over their gills. whitetip reef sharks are rarely aggressive to humans and sometimes may come close to swimmers. The whitetip reef shark is viviparous, meaning it gives live birth. Females are pregnant for around 10-13 months before giving birth to 1-6 young.
With the help of their slim body, whitetip reef shark can force their way into small holes to find hidden prey. Whitetip reef shark eat bony fish, including eels, squirrelfish, damselfish, parrotfish, surgeonfish, triggerfish, and goatfish. They also eat octopuses, spiny lobsters, and crabs. They usually hunt at nighttime when other fish are asleep so they are easy for the whitetip reef shark to catch. The whitetip reef shark can survive for six weeks without food.
Where they live [change]
The whitetip reef shark is found in the Indo-Pacific area. In the Indian Ocean it is found from northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa to the Red Sea and the Indian subcontinent, including Madagascar, Mauritius, the Comoros, the Aldabra Group, the Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and the Chagos Archipelagos. In western and central Pacific Ocean it is found from southern China, Taiwan, and the Ryukyu Islands, to the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia, to northern Australia. It is also found around many islands in Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, to Hawaii to the Pitcairn Islands. In eastern Pacific Ocean it is found from Costa Rica to Panama, and off the Galápagos Islands.
Whitetip reef sharks are found mainly in coral reefs. They prefer to live in clear waters and are found at a depth of 8-40 meters (26-130 ft). They sometimes enter water which is less than a meter deep. The deepest whitetip reef shark ever found was one found near the Ryukyu Islands; it was found at a depth of 330 meters (1,080 ft).
Relationship with humans [change]
Whitetip reef sharks are rarely ever aggressive to humans and they sometimes approach swimmers. But in the year 2008 the International Shark Attack File listed two provoked and three unprovoked attacks by the whitetip reef shark. Fishermen in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar hunt for this shark and eat the liver and meat of it. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has named this species Near Threatened because of fishing. On the Great Barrier Reef populations of the whitetip reef shark have decreased by 80%.