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Species: Triaenodon obesus, Whitetip reef shark

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snout short, blunt
white tips: D1, tail top
nostrils - tubular flaps
teeth - 3 points

Triaenodon obesus (Rüppell, 1837)

Whitetip reef shark

Body fairly slender; head broad, blunt and flattened, wedge shaped when viewed from above; eyes small; usually no spiracles; front flaps on nostrils tubular; top and bottom front teeth with one large, triangular, slightly oblique point and a small point on base at each side of that; five gill slits, last 1-2 over pectoral; first dorsal origin nearer pelvics than pectoral; second dorsal large, but smaller than first, origin ~ over origin of equal-sized anal; no ridge between dorsals; pectoral large, triangular; pit on top of base of tail; tail strongly asymmetric, large lower lobe, upper lobe notched under point.

Brownish grey, shading to whitish with a yellow cast ventrally, usually with a few scattered roundish dark grey spots on body (more on bottom half than top); tips of first dorsal fin and upper caudal lobe broadly white; tips of second dorsal fin and lower lobe of caudal fin also often white.

Maximum size 213 cm.

Spends most of the day at rest on the bottom in caves or beneath ledges; a seemingly curious shark that often approaches divers at close range.

Depth: 2-300 m.

Indo-Pacific; the mouth of the Gulf of California to Colombia.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom + water column
  • Near Bottom
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef only
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Data
Egg Type
  • No pelagic phase
  • No pelagic larva
  • Live birth
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • All Pacific (West + Central + East)
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
  • Indo-Pacific only (Indian + Pacific Oceans)
  • TEP non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Near threatened
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 213
Depth Range Min
  • 2
Depth Range Max
  • 300