Triaenodon obesus   (Ruppell,  1837) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Elasmobranchii

Image copyrights: Bartlett, N.

Size: Common length 160 cm TL (male/unsexed)

Max. weight reported: 18.3 kg

Color: Slightly brownish grey on back, becoming whitish with pinkish tinge below. First and second dorsal dusky grey with whitish tips. Caudal with dusky grey edges except tips of lobes which are whitish. Pectoral, ventral and anal dusky grey towards margin.

Body slender, tapering to head and caudal peduncle. Head wide, bluntly rounded and depressed. Head 5.1, depth 7.4, both to subcaudal origin. Snout about 3 in head. Eye 7.2 in head and 4.7 in almost flat interorbital space. Angle of mouth midway between tip of snout and fourth gill opening. Mouth greatly arched, broader than long. Nictitating membrane present. Labial folds rudimentary. Teeth of moderate size, backwardly directed, each with three acute cusps, central cusp larger. Spiracles absent. Nasal flap extending a little past nasal opening. No keel on sides of caudal peduncle. Base of caudal with a notch above and below. Last gill opening just behind front edge of pectoral insertion. First dorsal origin nearer to end of base of second dorsal than to tip of snout. Height of first dorsal and pectoral equal, shorter than head. Height of second dorsal equal to that of anal, slightly shorter than 2/3 of that of first dorsal. Lower caudal lobe half length of upper lobe. Second dorsal nearer to base of caudal than to base of first dorsal. Pelvic insertion behind vertical from hind edge of base of first dorsal.

Dioecious, internal (oviduct) fertilization, internal live bearers. Viviparous, placental, with 1 to 5 young per litter; usually 2 or 3 pups after a gestation period of > 5 months. Size at birth 52-60 cm TL. Distinct pairing with embrace. During courtship and prior to copulation, the male bites the female on her right pectoral fin and uses his medially flexed right clasper in copulation. During copulation which lasts from 15 seconds to 4 minutes, both heads of the male and female are slammed in the substrate and their bodies undulate to keep their tails elevated. This mating behavior was observed in individuals bred in captivity.

Max. age reported: 25 years

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Carcharias obesus Ruppell, 1835
Triaenodon obesus Smith, 1953
Carcharias obesus Ruppell, 1837
(Senior synonym)
Triaenodon apicalis Whitley, 1939
(Junior synonym)
Trianodon obesus (Ruppell, 1837)

Common Name (s)
• White Tip Reef Shark (English)
• Kallasurav (Malayalam)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial, Dangers
(Fisheries, gamefish. Meat and liver utilized fresh for human consumption. The liver of this shark has been reported as toxic.
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Increasing fishing pressure)

Habitat:  Reef Associated
Trophic Level:  Secondary Consumer
Prey:  Fishes, octopi, spiny lobsters and crabs
Predator:  Epinephelus lanceolatus, Galeocerdo cuvier
IUCN Status:  Near Threatened


• Lakshadweep, Bitra INDIA
• Red Sea
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Kerala, Kochi Fisheries Harbour INDIA (Record: 01/2008-06/2009)

Literature Source(s)
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1980) Fishes of the Laccadive Archipelago The Nature Conservation and Aquatic Sciences Service, Trivandrum, Kerala 760 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) 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 -
  • Talwar, PK and Kacker, RK (1984) Commercial sea fishes of India ZSI, Calcutta 997 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • 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 -
  • Jones, S. (1969) Catalogue of fishes from the Laccadive Archipelago in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 8 1-35 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 -
  • Akhilesh, KV; Ganga, U; Pillai, NGK; Vivekanandan, E; Bineesh, KK; Shanis, CPR and Hashim, M (2011) Deep-sea fishing for chondrichthyan resources and sustainability concerns-a case study from southwest coast of India Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences NISCAIR 40(3) 347-355 Available at -

Page last updated on:2012-02-17

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