The Silvertip Shark is another one of the near threatened shark species. Also known as the Carcharhinus Albimarginatus it’s a member of the requiem shark family. This shark variety likes the tropics and is usually found in the Pacific and the tropical Indian oceans.
This Shark is very aggressive and is large and bulky, usually growing to be 10 feet or almost 3 meters long. It has the squarest nose amongst its cousins – the other reef sharks. These sharks are known to weigh about 170 kilograms or 375 pounds and the females typically weigh more than males. The silver white marks on the fins distinguish it clearly from other sharks. This Shark competes aggressively with other sharks for food and is known to fight bloody battles. Its normal diet comprises of eagle rays and bony fishes that exist on coral reefs. It is also known to eat smaller shark cousins and cephalopods. Silvertip Sharks have perfected the art of running its prey against reef surfaces before devouring them. In fact, all reef sharks have mastered this technique, making it easier to catch fish.
The Silvertip Shark is also hunted/fished aggressively by man due to its smooth skin, liver oil and meat since these are considered commercially valuable. The flesh of the Silvertip Shark is considered a delicacy and is normally eaten salted in South-East Asia. Low reproductive rates and excessive hunting have made it a near threatened species.
The Silvertip Shark is also considered dangerous to humans since it has a history of approaching divers and swimmers silently and at close proximity. When threatened, these sharks are known to bend their bodies unnaturally. In addition to this, they are also known to dive quite deep (about 800 meters) and quite it dives very quickly. It can also surface as suddenly as it dives.
A predator of warmer waters, the Silvertip Shark is found abundantly in the Indian and Pacific oceans. It prefers shallow waters and is thus in close proximity to coral reefs and island reefs. The shark also prefers coral reefs due to the abundant food sources. The Pacific Rim, southern European coastline, the Indian Ocean, south-China coastline and the Australian coastline are the known habitat for these sharks. They also have an affinity to the coral reefs and offshore islands, so people should be careful when venturing out into their habitat.
This obviously tells us about their temperature preference – they like the tropics. However, their mating patterns indicate that during reproductive times, they prefer a cooler water. Additionally, this aggressive hunter can be found at depths of 30-40 meters and can dive up to 800 meters without a problem. Actually, these sharks can be found at all depths between 30 to 800 meters but they prefer the shallow and warm waters. The smaller ones or the juveniles prefer to lay around in lagoons or other shallow waters while the elders prefer depths.
These sharks are known to hunt in groups but have an aggressive disposition towards each other. Sometimes fights between sharks on the same hunt can occur. While they prefer to hunt in packs due to a higher success rate, they are also commonly seen hunting alone.
Even though this shark species is one of the more aggressive ones, TheRainbow Runner fish has apparently made friends with them. It’s common to see them swimming alongside the Silvertip Shark and rub against it to clean off parasites. Brave ones, aren’t they?
This shark is a great hunter and is very stealth-like. They also tend to stay in shallow water, so they are one of the more commonly seen shark species by humans. Due to its unpredictable behavior and aggressive hunting tactics, this shark is considered to be a higher threat to humans than most other sharks.
The Silvertip Shark is reaching the stage of “vulnerable” form “near threatened” due to the fishing habits in the Indian Ocean, especially the coral reef islands. Countries like Myanmar, Philippines and Malaysia are known to fish for these sharks and they are finned at sea. This kind of fishing and a low reproduction rate are the reasons why this great majestic shark could become extinct very soon.
Rainbow Runner Fish Swimming With A Silvertip Shark
Like other reef sharks, they follow the Viviparous reproductive cycle. Courtship is a little evolved in these sharks and prior to copulation these sharks are known to hold each other. Bites are normal, so much so that a female Silvertip Shark has been found without a part of the dorsal fin after mating. Both parturition and mating occur in the summer and the little ones born are found in more shallow waters. During the gestation period that could extend to a year, the embryos feed from the yolk and once the yolk is exhausted, the yolk-sac modifies itself into a placental connection through which the newborns feed from the mother.
The newborns are born in litters (normally 5 to 6 but can vary from 1 to 11) and are anywhere between 63 to 81 Centimeters or 25 to 32 inches long. The females are considered sexually mature once they grow to be about 2 meters long and in the case of males, it is 1.8 meters. The pups are known to swim with the mother shark in shallow waters before getting independent.