To see photographs of the Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus
longimanus) click here.
Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)
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Taxonomic name: Carcharhinus longimanus
Even though the Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) is considered
one of the five most dangerous sharks in the world, it is rarely, if ever,
seen by swimmers and snorkelers. This shark is only found in offshore
oceanic waters with temperatures of over 20°C.
Encounters are usually by anglers over the continental shelf while searching
for game fish or by divers visiting outer reefs with deep reef walls.
They are also often found with pods of Pilot Whales, following these socially-active
mammals in the hope of picking up scraps of squid or fish.
Oceanic Whitetip Sharks are very distinctive. They have a typical fusiform
whaler profile but with very long paddle-shaped pectoral fins and a tall
dorsal fin, all with broadly rounded tips marked by a blotch of cream
or white. The white markings on the tips can also be found on the pelvic
fins and both lobes of the tail. These white markings are usually black
on young sharks below 1.3 m. Adults grow to 350 cm. Body colour ranges
from a bronzy grey to a mottled khaki.
Unlike sharks that live over densely populated reefs, the Oceanic Whitetip
must cover a lot of territory to find its food. When food does become
available there is no time for the shark to check for potential danger
as the prey may just as easily be taken by other predators. For this reason
the Oceanic Whitetip Shark charges in very quickly on any possible prey,
a habit that makes it dangerous to divers or swimmers and it has been
blamed for the deaths of many survivors of ship or plane disasters at