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Not just a huge collection of Shark Pictures: Elasmodiver.com contains images of sharks, skates, rays, and a few chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web based shark field guide to help divers find the best places to encounter the different species of sharks and rays that live in shallow water but it has slowly evolved into a much larger project containing information on all aspects of shark diving and shark photography.

There are now more than 10,000 shark pictures  and sections on shark evolution, biology, and conservation. There is a large library of reviewed shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a monster list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are numerous articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is now so difficult to check for updates, that new information and pictures are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be accessed here:

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Shark picture - green sawfish

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SILVERTIP SHARK

View all available silvertip shark images in the Shark Pictures Database

Common Names: Silvertip shark

Latin Name: Carcharhinus albimarginatus

Family: Carcharhinidae  

Identification: White tips on trailing margins of dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins (and to a lesser degree on pelvic and anal fins). Stout body. Gray to bluish gray upper body. Underside pale to white.    

Size: Maximum length 3 metres. 63 - 68cm at birth.  

Habitat: Deeper off shore reefs, isolated islets, and continental drop offs. Intertidal to usually below 30 meters.

Abundance and distribution: In the Indian Ocean from the Red Sea to Southern Africa. In the Pacific from Japan to Australia and across to Columbia. A regular visitor at Cocos Island. 

Behavior:  Territorial. Seen singly, in pairs, and in small aggregations. Cruises reef faces usually in deep water. Feeds on benthic, reef, and pelagic fishes such as scorpionfishes, parrotfishes, tuna, and small sharks.

Reproduction: Viviparous. Litter number 1 - 11. Mating obviously an aggressive activity as females have been observed with mating wounds including the top of the first dorsal bitten off.  

Conservation Status: Near Threatened. According to the IUCN, silvertip sharks are subjected to bycatch in high seas fisheries and in artisanal longline, gillnet and trawl fisheries throughout its range, and the number of pelagic sharks landed by fishing fleets in all oceans has become increasingly important in recent years. The meat, teeth and jaws are sold locally and fins, skin and cartilage are exported. Few data are available, however there is evidence to suggest that Indonesian fisheries have extirpated local populations of this species from Scott Reef in northern Australia and declines are suspected elsewhere. This species? site-specificity, fragmented populations and life history characteristics indicate that even remote populations are highly vulnerable to target shark fisheries. This information, combined with actual and potential levels of exploitation throughout its range result in a global assessment of Near Threatened, based on suspected overall population declines approaching 30%.

Photographs: Rangiroa, French Polynesia.

Similar species: Gray Reef Shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) has similarly coloured dorsal fin but all other fins have black tips.   

Reaction to divers: Usually shy moves away unless in a baited situation. I have observed extremely aggressive behaviour as soon as bait was introduced. During one feed in Burma two Silvertips hit the bait so hard that they carried into the reef with a resounding crash, breaking coral and thrashing wildly. Divers have been reported to be attacked during shark feeds in Micronesia and New Guinea.   

Diving logistics:

There are silvertip shark feeds on Rangiroa in French Polynesia and there are also a number of places where natural encounters are very common such as the south pass of Fakarava, where silvertips mingle with enormous schools of grey reef sharks.

Organised trips once ran out of Phuket, Thailand to the famed Burma Banks especially Silvertip Bank where Silvertips were regularly encountered during staged shark feeds. Recently the sharks appearing have declined in number due to longlining.

Other than French Polynesia, diving destinations with frequent sightings include: Socorro Islands off Baja, Cocos Island, Papua New Guinea, Eastern and Western Australia and Micronesia.

 

References and further reading:  

Reef Sharks and Rays of the World. Scott W. Michael. Sea Challengers.

Sharks and Rays - Elasmobranch Guide of the World. Ralf M. Hennemann. IKAN.

IUCN Redlist. http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/161526/0

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