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 Oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)

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Oceanic whitetip shark
 Range Map

Earth Map


Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

Class: Carlilagenous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)
  Order: Ground sharks (Carcharhiniformes)
    Family: Requiem sharks (Carcharhinidae)
      Genus: Carcharhinus (Carcharhinus)


Scientific: Carcharhinus longimanus
German: Weissspitzen-Hochseehai, Hochsee-Weissflossenhai, Longimanus
English: Oceanic whitetip shark, Whitetip whaler
French: Requin oceanique
Spanish: Tiburón oceanico


Large, stocky build, with a short blunt snout. Long, broad and paddle-shaped pectoral fins. High first dorsal fin. Origin of the first dorsal fin just in front of the pectoral free rear tips. Interdorsal ridge, may be absent or only weakly developed.


Grey-bronze upper body, white ventral surface. White mottling usually present on fins, particularly on the pectorals, first dorsal fin, pelvic fins and caudal fin tips. Flank with an inconspicuous white band.


Worldwide, mainly in oceanic, tropical and warm-temperate waters. Western Atlantic: Maine to Argentina, including the Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. Central Atlantic. Eastern Atlantic: Madeira, south to the Gulf of Guinea. Western Indian Ocean: Madagascar, Mozambique, Mauritius, Seychelles, Red Sea, India. Western Pacific: China, the Philippines, New Caledonia, Australia. Central Pacific: Hawaiian Islands south to Samoa Islands, Tahiti and Tuamotu Archipelago, and to the Galapagos Islands. Eastern Pacific: Southern California to Peru, including the Gulf of California and Clipperton Islands.


A common, ocean-epipelagic, but occasionally, coastal, tropical and warm-temperate shark, usually found far offshore in the open sea. This species prefers water temperatures above 20$#176;Celsius and is most common between 20$#176;North and 20$#176;South. Population dynamics and structure are little known. Apparently size and sexual segregation occurs in this shark as in many other species. This is one of the three most abundant oceanic sharks, the other two are the and the Blue shark This species is slow moving but can be quite active. Often seen cruising slowly near the surface with its huge pectoral fins conspicuously outspread. The oceanic whitetip shark can be very bold and persistent in attending potential sources of food.


This species feeds mainly on oceanic bony fishes, cephalopods, and occasionally on stingrays, sea birds, turtles, carrion from marine mammals, and garbage.


Maximum size possibly 390 cm, but most specimen are below 300 cm.


Viviparous, with yolksac-placenta. 1 to 15 pups per litter. Size at birth between 65 and 75 cm. Gestation period about 12 months. Males mature at about 175 and 180 cm, females mature at about 180 to 200 cm.

 Similar Species



Status in the IUCN Red List(1994):

Main criterion: > LR/nt (Low Risk/Near Threatened (1994))
Sub criterion:
Trend: Unknown

 Danger to Humans

Dangerous species.

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