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Carcharhinus longimanus (Poey, 1861)
Oceanic White Tip Shark; Oceanic White-tipped Whaler; Whitetip Whaler; Pterolamia longimanus Poey, 1861; Pterolamiops longimanus Poey, 1861; Squalus longimanus Poey, 1861

Life   Vertebrata   Fish   Carcharhinidae   Carcharhinus

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Carcharhinus longimanus
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Carcharhinus longimanus

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Carcharhinus longimanus
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Carcharhinus longimanus
Carcharhinus longimanus
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Carcharhinus longimanus

Main identification features
  • white tips: 1st dorsal fin pectoral, lower tail
  • 1st dorsal fin very large, rounded
  • pectoral very long, rounded
Snout moderately short and broadly rounded, length before mouth 5.4-7.1% of total length; ridge on back between dorsal fins usually present; origin of first dorsal fin slightly before inner rear corner of pectoral fins; first dorsal fin very large, with broadly rounded tip, its height 9.2-15.2% of total length; pectoral fins extremely long (length of front edge 20.2- 27.1% of total length), with broad round tips; origin of second dorsal in front of or over anal fin origin.

Brownish grey on back, becoming white ventrally; tips of first dorsal fin, paired fins, and caudal fin lobes broadly mottled white; anal fin usually blackish at tip and second dorsal fin may be dusky at tip; juveniles with most fins tipped with black.

Grows to 396 cm; 60-65 cm at birth.

Habitat: oceanic epipelagic.

Depth: 0-200 m.

Circumtropical; Southern California to the SW Gulf of California to Ecuador and the oceanic islands.

Abundance: Common.
Cites: Not listed.
Climate Zone: Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap); Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos); Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo).
Depth Range Max: 200 m.
Depth Range Min: 0 m.
Diet: Pelagic crustacea; bony fishes; octopus/squid/cuttlefish; sea snakes/mammals/turtles/birds.
Eastern Pacific Range: Northern limit=33; Southern limit=-3; Western limit=-118; Eastern limit=-78; Latitudinal range=36; Longitudinal range=40.
Egg Type: Live birth; No pelagic larva.
Feeding Group: Carnivore.
FishBase Habitat: Pelagic.
Global Endemism: Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans); East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West); Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America); East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West); All Pacific (West + Central + East); TEP non-endemic; "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific); All species.
Habitat: Water column.
Inshore Offshore: Offshore; Offshore Only.
IUCN Red List: Near threatened; Listed.
Length Max: 396 cm.
Regional Endemism: Island (s); Continent; Continent + Island (s); Eastern Pacific non-endemic; Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic; All species.
Residency: Resident.
Salinity: Marine; Marine Only.
Water Column Position: Mid Water; Near Surface; Surface; Water column only;

Scientific source:

Links to other sites

  • Balart , E. F. , Castro-Aguirre , J. L. , Aurioles-Gamboa , D. , Garca-Rodriguez , F. and Villavicencio-Garayzar, C., 1995., Adiciones a la ictiofauna de Baha de la Paz, Baja California Sur, Mxico., Hidrobiologica, 5:79-85.
  • Bellido-Milln, J.M. and Villavicencio-Garayzar, C.J., 2002., Pesqueria artesanal de tiburon en la region central del Golfo de California. En: Lozano-Vilano, M. L. (Ed.). Libro Jubilar en Honor al Dr. Salvador Contreras Balderas., Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Len:143-152.
  • Barez, P., 1996., Lista de los Peces Marinos del Ecuador Continental., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 44:731-741.
  • Castro-Aguirre, J.L. and Balart, E.F., 2002., La ictiofauna de las islas Revillagigedos y sus relaciones zoogeograficas, con comentarios acerca de su origen y evolucion. En: Lozano-Vilano, M. L. (Ed.). Libro Jubilar en Honor al Dr. Salvador Contreras Balderas., Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Len:153-170.
  • Compagno, L.J.V., 1999., Checklist of living elasmobranchs. In Hamlett W.C. (ed.) Sharks, skates, and rays: the biology of elasmobranch fishes., The John Hopkins University Press:471-498.
  • Compagno, L.J.V., 1984., Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2. Carcharhiniformes. FAO Species Catalogue., FAO Fish. Synop. No 125, 4(2):251-655.
  • Eschmeyer , W. N. , Herald , E. S. and Hamman, H., 1983., A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America from the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California. Peterson Field Guide Ser. 28., Houghton Mifflin:336pp.
  • Findley, L.T., Hendrickx, M.E., Brusca, R.C., van der Heiden, A.M., Hastings, P.A., Torre, J., 2003., Diversidad de la Macrofauna Marina del Golfo de California, Mexico., CD-ROM versin 1.0. Projecto de la Macrofauna del Golfo . Derechos reservados de los autores y Conservacin Internacional.
  • Fischer , W. , Krup , F. , Schneider , W. , Sommer , C. , Carpenter , K. E. and Niem, V. H., 1995., Guia FAO para la Identificacion de Especies de para los fines de la Pesca. Pacifico Centro-Oriental. Volumen II. Vertebrados - Parte 1., FAO2:647-1200.
  • Jimenez-Prado, P., Barez, P., 2004., Peces marinos del Ecuador continental / Marine fishes of continental Ecuador., SIMBIOE/NAZCA/IFEA tomo 1 y 2.
  • Love, M.S., Mecklenburg, C.W., Mecklenburg, T.A., Thorsteinson, L.K., 2005., es of the West Coast and Alaska: a checklist of North Pacific and Artic Ocena species from Baja California to the Alaska-Yukon border., U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, 288pp.
  • Poey, F., 1860., Memorias sobra la historia natural de la Isla de Cuba, acompaadas de sumarios Latinos y extractos en Francs. Tomo 2. La Habana., Mem. Hist. Nat. Cuba, 2:97-336.
  • Van der Heiden , A. M. and Findley, L. T., 1988., Lista de los peces marinos del sur de Sinaloa, Mxico., Anales del Centro de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia de la Universidad Autonoma Nacional de Mexico, 15:209-224.


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Following modified from Australian Faunal Directory
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Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts

Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory

You are here:  Environment home » Biodiversity » ABRS » AFD » ANIMALIA (Kingdom) » CHORDATA (Phylum) » VERTEBRATA (Subphylum) » GNATHOSTOMATA (Higher Taxon) » PISCES (Higher Taxon) » CHONDRICHTHYES (Class) » ELASMOBRANCHII (Subclass) » CARCHARHINIFORMES (Order) » CARCHARHINIDAE (Family) » Carcharhinus Blainville, 1816 (Genus) » Carcharhinus longimanus (Poey, 1861)

Species Carcharhinus longimanus (Poey, 1861)


Regional Maps

External Links

CAAB : 37018032 Taxon concept Carcharhinus_longimanus last modified 2014-03-13 14:41:28.159

Species Carcharhinus longimanus (Poey, 1861)

Oceanic Whitetip Shark , Oceanic White Tip Shark, Oceanic White-tipped Whaler, White-tipped Whaler, Whitetip Whaler


Generic Combinations



In 2006 Carcharhinus longimanus was placed on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable.




New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia

Extra Distribution Information

Cape Leeuwin, WA to southern NSW and one record from SA; tropical, circumglobal.

IBRA and IMCRA regions (map not available)


Southeast Transition (11), Central Eastern Province (12), Tasman Basin Province (13), Lord Howe Province (14), Central Eastern Transition (15), Northeast Province (18), Northeast Transition (19), Cape Province (20), Norfolk Island Province (21), Christmas Island Province (23), Northwest Shelf Province (27), Central Western Shelf Transition (28), Central Western Shelf Province (29), Northwest Transition (3), Southwest Shelf Transition (30), Southwest Shelf Province (31), Spencer Gulf Shelf Province (33), Southeast Shelf Transition (37), Central Eastern Shelf Province (38), Central Eastern Shelf Transition (39), Northwest Province (4), Northeast Shelf Province (40), Northeast Shelf Transition (41), Central Western Transition (5), Central Western Province (6), Southwest Transition (7)

Other Regions

Coral Sea Islands Territory

Ecological Descriptors

Continental shelf, marine, oceanic, pelagic.

Extra Ecological Information

Common in oceanic areas, surface to 150 m.


General References

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island . Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp. [34]

Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125 . Rome : FAO Vol. 4(2) 251-655 pp. [484]

Compagno, L.J.V., Dando, M. & Fowler, S. 2005. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World . London : Collins 368 pp. [300]

Compagno, L.J.V. & Niem, V.H. 1998. Family Carcharhinidae. pp. 1312-1360 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes . Rome : FAO Vol. 2 687-1396 pp. [1341]

Garrick, J.A.F. 1982. Sharks of the genus Carcharhinus . National Marine Fisheries Service (U.S.). Technical Report 445 : 1-194 figs 1-83

Glover, C.J.M. 1974. The whitetip oceanic shark Pterolamiops longimanus Poey, 1861 — a first record from off the southern Australian coast. South Australian Naturalist 49 (1): 12-13

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers . Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. [24]

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia . Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls. [247]

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia . Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp. [264]

Macbeth, W.G., Vandenberg, M. & Graham, K.J. 2008. Identifying Sharks and Rays; A guide to Commercial Fishers . Sydney : New South Wales Department of Primary Industry pp. 71. [18]

Pepperell, J. 2010. Fishes of the Open Ocean a Natural History & Illustrated Guide . Sydney : University of New South Wales Press Ltd 266 pp. [196]

Stevens, J.D. 1994. Families Carcharhinidae, Triakidae, Scyliorhinidae. pp. 120-138 figs 76-107 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast . Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. [122]

White, W. 2008. Shark Families Heterodontidae to Pristiophoridae. pp. 32-100 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast . Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. [69]


Common Name References

Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125 . Rome : FAO Vol. 4(2) 251-655 pp. [484] ( Oceanic Whitetip Shark )

Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast . Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. [123] (White-tipped Whaler)

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia . Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls. [257] (Whitetip Whaler)

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia . Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp. [107] (Oceanic White Tip Shark)

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea . Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. [123] (Oceanic White-tipped Whaler)

Seafood Services Australia 2008. Australian Fish Names Standard. ( Oceanic Whitetip Shark )


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
16-Aug-2012 16-Aug-2012 MODIFIED
16-Apr-2012 16-Apr-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)

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Last modified: Thursday, 13 March 2014 2:41:28 PM AEDT

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Following modified from Taiwan Biodiversity National Information Network
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Kingdom Animalia  
 Phylum Chordata  
 Class Chondrichthyes  
 Order Carcharhiniformes  
 Family Carcharhinidae  
 Genus Carcharhinus  
  Carcharhinus longimanus    (Poey, 1861) 
Provider: Pofeng Lee& Shoou-Jeng Joung 
hierarchy tree    download xml    download txt    Chinese Page    
Synonyms: Carcharhinus maou Carcharias albimarginatus Carcharias insularum Carcharias longimanus Carcharias obtusus Carcharinus albimarginatus Carcharinus longimanus Pterolamiops budkeri Pterolamiops longimanus Pterolamiops magnipinnis Squalus longimanus details
Citation: 臺灣魚類誌(沈等, 1993); 中國動物誌-圓口綱及軟骨魚綱(朱等, 2001); FAO Species Catalogue, Vol.4 Sharks of the world
Character: A large, stocky shark species. Snout short and broadly rounded. Eyes small, its length 0.9-2.5% of total length. Gill slits moderately long, length of 3rd 3.1-4.1% of total length and less than a third of 1st dorsal base. Rows of anteroposterior teeth in each jaw half 13-14/13-15. Upper teeth with very broad, triangular, strongly serrated cusps that merge into crown feet with slightly coarser serrations but no cusplets. Lower teeth with erect to slightly oblique, stout serrated cusps and transverse or moderately arched roots. Interdorsal ridge usually present. First dorsal fin very large and distally expanded, with a broadly rounded apex. Origin of 1st dorsal fin just anterior to the pectoral free rear tips. Inner margin of 1st dorsal fin moderately long, about half dorsal base. Second dorsal fin large and high, its length 2.7-3.9% of total length, its inner margin short and 1-1.1 times its height. Origin of 2nd dorsal over or slightly anterior to anal origin. Pectoral fin very large and elongated, with broadly rounded apices, length of anterior margins about 19-29% of total length. Number of total vertebral centra 228-244, precaudal centra 123-131. Colour grey-bronze above, white below. White mottling usually present on fins, particularly pectorals, 1st dorsal, pelvics, and caudal tips. 
Habitat: A very common, oceanic-epipelagic, tropical and warmtemperate shark, usually found far offshore in the open sea. This is a slow-moving but quite active shark species. It often cruises slowly at or near the surface with its huge pectoral fins outspread. Vi 
Distribution: This species primarily distributed in tropical and warm-temperate oceanic maters including Atlantic ocean, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Pacific Ocean. 
Utility: This species is regularly caught with pelagic longlines. It is utilized fresh, smoked and dried salted for human consumption, hides for leather, fins for shark-fin soup, liver for vitamins. 
Name Code: 383075
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Common name (e.g. trout)

Genus + Species (e.g. Gadus morhua)

Carcharhinus longimanus (Poey , 1861)

Oceanic whitetip shark Add your observation in Fish Watcher
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Pictures | Videos |     Stamps, Coins Misc. | Google image Image of Carcharhinus longimanus (Oceanic whitetip shark) Carcharhinus longimanus
Picture by Moldzio, S.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes ( gen. , sp. ) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Carcharhiniformes (Ground sharks) > Carcharhinidae (Requiem sharks)
Etymology: Carcharhinus: Greek, karcharos = sharpen + Greek, rhinos = nose (Ref. 45335 ) .  More on author: Poey .

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243 ); depth range 0 - 230 m (Ref. 58302 ), usually 0 - 152 m (Ref. 55185 ).   Subtropical; 18°C - 28°C (Ref. 244 ); 46°N - 43°S, 180°W - 180°E (Ref. 6871 )

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Circumglobal (tropical to warm temperate, Ref. 244). Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139 ).

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: L m 187.0 , range 180 - 200 cm
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 )

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

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 ).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Viviparous, placental (Ref. 50449 ). Litter size 1-15 pups; 60-65 cm at birth (Ref. 244 ). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205 ).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Compagno, Leonard J.V. | Collaborators

Compagno, L.J.V. , 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2 - Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/2):251-655. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 244 )

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744 )

  Vulnerable (VU)  (A2ad+3d+4ad); Date assessed: 01 February 2006

CITES (Ref. 118484 )

Appendix II: International trade monitored

CMS (Ref. 116361 )

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Traumatogenic (Ref. 244 )

Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes FAO(fisheries: production ; publication : search ) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Common names
Spawning aggregation
Egg development
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


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Internet sources

Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes ( gen. , sp. ) | DiscoverLife | DORIS | ECOTOX | Faunafri | Fishtrace | GenBank( genome , nucleotide ) | GloBI | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | National databases | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | Tree of Life | Wikipedia( Go , Search ) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record

Estimates based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969 ): 17.9 - 28.9, mean 26.8 (based on 6810 cells). Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805 ):  PD 50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high]. Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01000 (0.00617 - 0.01621), b=3.07 (2.93 - 3.21), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245 ). Trophic Level (Ref. 69278 ):  4.2   ±0.4 se; Based on diet studies. Resilience (Ref. 120179 ):  Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (K=0.1(?); tm=7; tmax=22; Fec=1). Prior r = 0.06, 95% CL = 0.04 - 0.10, Based on 2 stock assessments. Vulnerability (Ref. 59153 ):  Very high vulnerability (79 of 100) . Price category (Ref. 80766 ):   Medium .

Entered by Carpenter, Kent E. Modified by Kesner-Reyes, Kathleen Fish Forum
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