Whitetip Reef Shark

Discovery

Overview — The whitetip reef shark does indeed have white tips on its dorsal and caudal fins, giving the fins a sort of matchstick appearance because the white contrasts with their tough, dark gray skin. Also, as the name suggests, they live in or around coral reefs, but also may be found in many of the world’s oceans. Their preferred habitat is in caves and crevices at coral reefs.

Whitetip reef sharks tend to go for water depths between 26 and 131 feet. Its body allows it to pump water over its gills without propelling forward, so the shark can sit motionless on the seafloor for hours at a time. As nocturnal fish, they will spend much of their day in a cave before going out to eat at night.

Feeding Habits — Like most night owls, the whitetip reef shark is docile and mostly inactive during the day, but it really explodes into action at night. A very aggressive hunter, this shark will do whatever it takes to catch prey. Sometimes it works alone, but at other times it operates in a pack of other sharks to isolate desired catches. Its primary source of food is bony fish, including damselfish, parrotfish, surgeonfish, goatfish, triggerfish, squirrelfish and eels.

Cool Fact — Whitetip reef sharks have large, oval eyes that allow them to see well in very dim light.

Common Max Depth — 131 feet

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