Carcharhinus longimanus   (Poey,  1861) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Elasmobranchii

Image copyrights: Doug Perrine

Size: 396 cm TL (male/unsexed)

Max. weight reported: 167.4 kg

Color: 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).

Body moderately stout. Snout short and broadly rounded, its length equal to, or somewhat less than, mouth-width, and greater than distance between nostrils; labial folds very short; anterior nasal flaps very low, rudimentary. Teeth in numerous rows, with serrated edges, those in upper jaw broadly triangular with broad, heavy, mostly erect cusps nearly symmetrical anteriorly, but becoming increasingly oblique at sides; teeth in lower jaw with erect heavy cusps and serrated edges. First dorsal fin noticeably large, with a very broadly rounded apex, its origin slightly behind insertion of pectoral fins; origin of second dorsal fin over, or slightly in front of anal fin origin; second dorsal fin high, its inner margin less than twice the fin-height; free rear tips of anal fin nearly reaches caudal fin base. Pectoral fins very long, very broadly rounded wide tips. A dermal ridge present between dorsal fins.

Dioecious, internal (oviduct) fertilization, internal live bearers. Viviparous, placental. Litter size 1-15 pups; 60-65 cm at birth. Distinct pairing with embrace.

Max. age reported: 22 years

Frequently accompanied by Remora, Coryphaena, pilot fishes, and tortoises. There is pronounced partial segregation by size and sex in some areas.

Synonym (s)
Carcharhinus maou (Lesson, 1831)
(Ambiguous synonym)
Carcharias insularum Snyder, 1904
(Junior synonym)
Carcharias longimanus (Poey, 1861)
(Senior synonym)
Carcharias obtusus Garman, 1881
(Junior synonym)
Pterolamiops budkeri Fourmanoir, 1961
(Junior synonym)
Pterolamiops longimanus (Poey, 1861)
(Senior synonym)
Pterolamiops magnipinnis Smith, 1958
(Junior synonym)
Squalus longimanus Poey, 1861
(Senior synonym)
Squalus maou Lesson, 1831
(Ambiguous synonym)
Carcharhinus commersonii Misra, 1969
Carcharinus longimanus (Poey, 1861)

Common Name (s)
• Oceanic White Tip Shark (English)
• Oceanic Whitetip Shark (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial, Dangers
(Fisheries, gamefish. Utilized fresh, frozen, smoked, and dried-salted for human consumption; hides for leather, fins for fin soup, liver oil for vitamins, also processed into fishmeal.
This is an active, almost fearless shark also charged in human attacks. Probably responsible for many open-ocean attacks after air or sea disasters.)
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(It is caught in large numbers as a bycatch in pelagic fisheries, with pelagic longlines, probably pelagic gillnets, handlines and occasionally pelagic and even bottom trawls.)

Habitat:  Pelagic, Open Sea
Trophic Level:  Tertiary Consumer
Prey:  Bony fishes, also threadfins, stingrays, sea turtles, sea birds, gastropods, squid, crustaceans, mammalian carrion and garbage, including tuna and mahimahi
IUCN Status:  Vulnerable


• Kerala, Kochi INDIA (Record: 2000-2002)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Kerala INDIA
• Tamil Nadu INDIA
• Southwest Coast INDIA
• Red Sea

Literature Source(s)
  • Joshi, KK; Balachandran, K and Raje, SG (2008) Changes in the shark fishery at Cochin Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin, India 50(1) 103-105 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Florida Museum of Natural History Available at -
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Dr. Ramesh, R; Dr. Nammalwar, P and Dr. Gowri, VS (2008) Database on coastal information of Tamil Nadu Report Submitted to Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre, Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Available at -
  • Talwar, PK and Kacker, RK (1984) Commercial sea fishes of India ZSI, Calcutta 997 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Hanfee, F (1999) Management of shark fisheries in two Indian coastal states: Tamil Nadu and Kerala Case studies of the management of elasmobranch fisheries. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 378 Rome, FAO Part 1 (11) Available at -
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 5 Available at -
  • Raje, SG; Sivakami, S; Mohanraj, G; Manoj Kumar, PP; Raju, A and Joshi, KK (2007) An atlas on the Elasmobranch fishery resources of India CMFRI Special publication CMFRI, Cochin, India. 95 253pp Available at -
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -

Page last updated on:2011-10-10

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