Silvertip shark

The pelagic zone’s elegant hunter

The Silvertip shark (Carcharhinus albimarginatus) is a large species of requiem shark, in the family Carcharhinidae. It can dive to depths of 2600 feet. Silvertip sharks are potentially dangerous to humans.

Family: Carcharhinidae – Requiem sharks

Genus: Carcharhinus

Species: albimarginatus

 

Taxonomy:

Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles

SubclassElasmobranchii

OrderCarcharhiniformes

Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Carcharhinidae

Common NameRequiem Sharks

Genus Carcharhinus

Speciesalbimarginatus

Status: IUCN Red List VULNERABLE

Average Size and Length: The Silvertip shark reaches a maximum length of 9.8 feet. The average length of a Silvertip shark is 6.6-8.2 feet.

Average Weight: The maximum recorded weight of a Silvertip shark is 358 pounds.

Teeth and Jaw: Both jaws of the Silvertip shark have between 12-14 teeth. The upper teeth are broad and serrated. The cusps are high and triangular and the crown feet have coarse serrations or low cusp-lets. The lower teeth have upright broad serrated cusps with transverse roots.

Head: The Silvertip shark has a round, broad snout and large round eyes.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Silvertip shark can be found with very spotty distribution throughout the tropical, Western Indian Ocean like the Red Sea, and East Africa including Madagascar, Seychelles, Aldabra Group, Mauritius, and the Chagos Archipelago ranging from Southern Japan to Northern Australia. And in the Eastern central Pacific Ocean from southern Baja, California, Mexico to Colombia including the Cocos, Galapagos, French Polynesia, Guam, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, and Revillagigedo Islands.

It is often found inshore over continental shelves and around offshore islands and coral reefs, and has been known to dive to a depth of 2,600 ft. Young Silvertip sharks reside in shallow waters or lagoons close to shore to minimize risk from predation.

Diet: Silvertip sharks typically eat benthic and midwater fishes like wahoo, wrasses and tuna. They also eat squid, octopus, eagle rays and small sharks. The Silvertip shark has been observed swimming along the edge of a group of other species of feeding sharks, swiftly darting into the group to swipe food.

Ram-Suction Index: Ram

Aesthetic Identification: The Silvertip shark appears blue-gray from above, with a bronze shine, paling to white underneath. The silvertip name comes from the white tips and borders on all of its fins, it is often confused with Grey reef sharks, and even the Whitetip reef shark. There is a faded white band around the flank region.

Th Silvertip shark is slender and streamlined. The first dorsal fin is large with a pointed apex. It originates over or slightly in front of the free tips of the pectoral fins. The second dorsal fin originates over or just behind the origin of the anal fin. The pectoral fins are large and semi-falcate with narrowly rounded or pointed tips. The caudal fin is asymmetrical in shape with a large upper lobe. The Silvertip shark has an interdorsal ridge.

Biology and Reproduction: Both male and female Silvertip sharks reach maturity at a length of 5.2-6.2 feet.

Mating occurs during the summer months in the Southern hemisphere.

Silvertip sharks engage in distinct pairing.

Silvertip sharks have a gestation period of a year.

Silvertip sharks are viviparous. They have between 1-11 pups.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Research suggests that Silvertip sharks do exhibit aggressive and territorial behaviors.

Speed:  The Silvertip shark is a fast swimmer.

Silvertip Shark Future and Conservation: The Silvertip shark is slow-reproducing, and therefor can easily fall victim to commercial fishing.

Silvertip Shark Recorded Attacks on Humans: The Silvertip shark is potentially dangerous to humans because of its large size and accessibility to where humans can be found. According to the International Shark Attack File, this species has been responsible for one unprovoked attack. Although it tends to keep a distance from divers and swimmers, the Silvertip shark will become excited and audacious when bait is present.