Creature of the Month

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courtesy of Scuba News

White Tip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus)

For many divers the presence of a shark makes the dive,
and the White Tip Reef Shark is the one you are most likely
to see in the  Indo- and Eastern Pacific (Red Sea,
Australia, South Africa, Maldives, Philippines, Costa Rica,
Galapagos, etc.).  Easily recognised by the white tips on
its dorsal fin and tail, and its relatively slim body, it
is harmless unless provoked.  You often see it resting on
the bottom - particularly in channels or caves.

As its name suggests, the reef shark prefers shallow water.
This, and its lazy day time habits, are why it is so often
seen by divers.  

The shark hunts at night, sometimes in packs.  It finds
moving fish by homing in on the small electrical impulses
they emit.  However, even inactive fish are not safe as
the shark can smell them.  It prefers medium sized fish
like damselfish, wrasse and parrotfish. These hide
themselves deep in the coral, out of reach of the white
tip's large head and mouth. Other foods include octopuses
and crustaceans.

It takes around 5 years for the White Tip Reef Shark to
matures and give birth to live young. Litters of two or
three pups are normal, which can live for 25 years.

For a photo of a White Tip Reef Shark, taken in
Australia, see

Further Reading:
The Blue Planet. Read our review at