Silvertip shark - Carcharhinus albimarginatus


Illustration © Marc Dando

A large shark with striking white tips and trailing edges on all fins.

Dark grey, and sometimes bronze-tinged above, white below.

When born, the shark is 2.1 to 2.2 ft [63 to 68 cm] in length. Males mature at a length of 5.2 to 5.9 ft [1.6 to1.8 m], while females mature at 5.2 to 6.5 ft [1.6 to1.9 m]. Their maximum length is approximately 9.8 ft [3 m].

Upper teeth are triangular.

They prefer the continental shelf, offshore islands, coral reefs, and offshore banks. They can also be found inside lagoons, near drop-offs and offshore, from the surface to depths of 1968.5 to 2624.7 ft [600 to 800 m]. These sharks are not oceanic. The young sharks are found more often in shallower water close to the shore, while adults are more wide ranging.

Tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean, and are widely but patchily distributed. They are unconfirmed in the west Atlantic.


  • Prey – A variety of mid-water and bottom fishes, eagle rays, and octopi.

  • Reproduction – These sharks are viviparous, with yolk-sac placenta and 1-11 pups per litter, but often 5-6, after about a 1 year gestation period.

These sharks range from the surface to the bottom, but may not disperse widely between sites. They often follow boats. They are more aggressive and dominant than the Galapagos shark - Carcharhinus galapagensis and the Blacktip shark - Carcharhinus limbatus. Adults are often scarred. These sharks are large, bold, and potentially harmful. There has been one confirmed shark-bite incident. Caution is advised when encountering this shark underwater.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List: Not Evaluated. These are slow-growing sharks, and remote populations are likely to be highly vulnerable to target fisheries for meat or fins, particularly if they have a limited dispersion between sites.