The whitetip reef shark is a medium-sized shark averaging about 1.6 meters in length and 20 kg in mass, but growing as big as 2 meters and 28 kg. It is grey in color with a white belly and characteristic white tips on its first dorsal, upper caudal and occasionally the pelvic fins. The snout is short and broad with a mouth full of smooth edged teeth on both jaws. Both the mouth and nostrils are located on the underside of the head. The skin is very tough and the lateral fins are highly flexible. Both of these characteristics allow them to exist more easily among the rough and jagged edges of a coral reef. A diagnostic feature that distinguishes Triaenodon obesus from the similar silvertip and oceanic whitetip sharks is the second dorsal fin. In the whitetip reef shark it is significantly larger in comparison to the other species.
Range mass: 27.7 (high) kg.
Average mass: 20 kg.
Range length: 213 (high) cm.
Average length: 165 cm.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger
- Perrine, D. 1995. Sharks. Stillwater, Minnesota, USA: Voyageur Press.
- Randall, J. 1977. Contribution to the Biology of the Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus). Pacific Science, 31/2: 143-164.