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Carcharhinus longimanus  (Poey, 1861)

Oceanic whitetip shark
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Image of Carcharhinus longimanus (Oceanic whitetip shark)
Carcharhinus longimanus
Picture by Moldzio, S.

Australia country information

Common names: Oceanic whitetip shark, Oceanic white-tipped whaler, Whitetip whaler
Occurrence: native
Salinity: marine
Abundance: | Ref:
Importance: of no interest | Ref: Last, P.R. and J.D. Stevens, 1994
Aquaculture: | Ref:
Regulations: | Ref:
Uses: no uses
Comments: Occurs in northern Australia, from at least Perth in Western Australia to southern New South Wales, excluding Torres Strait, Gulf of Carpentaria and Arafura Sea (Ref. 6871). One specimen from south-west of Port Lincoln in South Australia (Ref. 6871). Bycatch of Japanese tuna longliners fishing in northern Australia (Ref. 6871). Also Ref. 244, 2334, 7300, 9997.
National Checklist:
Country Information:
National Fisheries Authority:
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: Last, P.R. and J.D. Stevens, 1994
National Database:

Classification / Names

Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Carcharhiniformes (Ground sharks) > Carcharhinidae (Requiem sharks)
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL

Common names from other countries

Main reference

Size / Weight / Age

Max length : 400 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 89972); common length : 270 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9253); max. published weight: 167.4 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 22 years (Ref. 31395)

Length at first maturity
Lm 187.0, range 180 - 200 cm


Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 230 m (Ref. 58302), usually 0 - 152 m (Ref. 55185)

Climate / Range

Subtropical; 18°C - 28°C (Ref. 244); 46°N - 43°S, 180°W - 180°E (Ref. 6871)


Circumglobal (tropical to warm temperate, Ref. 244). Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139).
Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions

Short description

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 0. A stocky shark with a huge, rounded 1st dorsal fin, and long, wide-tipped pectoral fins; snout bluntly rounded; upper teeth triangular; interdorsal ridge present (Ref. 5578). Back usually dark grey with a bronze tinge, sometimes brown or bluish; belly whitish, sometimes with a yellow tinge; tips off first dorsal, pectorals, and lower lobe of caudal often white or with white spots (sometimes absent); ventral surface of pelvic fins, apices of anal and second dorsal, and ventral lobe of caudal often with black spots; black or dusky saddle-marks in front of second dorsal, upper margin of caudal and between dorsal fins (especially in young) (Ref. 9997).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

An oceanic deep-water species which sometimes comes close to shore (Ref. 244). Found surface to depths of at least 150 m (Ref. 26938). Epipelagic usually over water depths of >184 meters (Ref. 58302). Frequently accompanied by Remora, Coryphaena, pilot fishes (Ref. 30573), and tortoises. Feeds oceanic bony fishes, also threadfins, stingrays, sea turtles, sea birds, gastropods, squid, crustaceans, mammalian carrion and garbage (Ref. 5578), including tuna and mahimahi (Ref. 1602, 37816). Viviparous (Ref. 50449). There is pronounced partial segregation by size and sex in some areas. This is an active, almost fearless shark also charged in human attacks (Ref. 244). Probably responsible for many open-ocean attacks after air or sea disasters (Ref. 6871). Utilized fresh, frozen (Ref. 9987), smoked, and dried-salted for human consumption; hides for leather, fins for fin soup, liver oil for vitamins, also processed into fishmeal (Ref. 244). 1 to 15 young, 60 to 65 cm, are born per litter (Ref. 1602).

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

  Vulnerable (VU) (A2ad+3d+4ad)

Threat to humans

  Traumatogenic (Ref. 244)

Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes

More information

Common names
Egg development
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
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Swim. type
Gill area


Special reports

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Internet sources

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805)
PD50 = 0.5000 many relatives (e.g. carps) 0.5 - 2.0 few relatives (e.g. lungfishes)

Trophic Level (Ref. 69278)
4.2   ±0.4 se; Based on diet studies.

Resilience (Ref. 69278)
Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (K=0.1(?); tm=7; tmax=22; Fec=1)

Vulnerability (Ref. 59153)
Very high vulnerability (79 of 100)
Price category (Ref. 80766)