White Tipped Sharks, Another Galapagos Attraction

White Tip Reef Shark.
Don’T Miss The Opportunity To See A White Tipped Reef Shark In The Galapagos Islands Cruise Tours.

The white tip reef shark

Triaenodon obesus is one of the 400 species of sharks found in the world. They are distinguished from other sharks by the white tip on both their first dorsal fin and upper caudal fins. Like most species of sharks, they are drably counter-shaded. This means that the top and bottom sides are colored differently serving to camouflage the shark from multiple perspectives. The top (the dorsal side) is considerably darker than the belly (the ventral side). When the shark is viewed from above, its dark top surface blends into the dark ocean depths. When viewed from below, the light-colored belly blends in with the light above. This helps the shark hunt in a stealthy manner, enabling it to sneak up on prey undetected.
White tip reef sharks are very common in the Galapagos Islands cruise tours. We often see them resting in shallow waters or, constantly swimming near the shores. Apparently this behavior is related to courtship displays in which males bite females to show their interest. These “love bites” are commonly found near the females’ neck and head. White tip reef sharks can grow up to 2.10 m (6.88 ft); they are curious, gentle and often approach swimmers quite close. This nocturnal shark feeds primarily on crustaceans, mollusks, small fish, and octopus amongst others.

Evolution of sharks

Sharks have 450 millions years of evolution in which they still conserve ancestral but fascinating characteristics such as the dermal denticles covering their skin as opposed to other fish. Their function is to form a protective barrier and to aid for swimming. The exorbitant number of teeth that they produce and re-grow constantly, suggests that over a few years, a shark may grow tens of thousands of teeth!! This explains the abundance of fossils that have been very helpful in science.
The reproductive success on this viviparous fish, consist in their internal fertilization and the production of litters of 1 to 5 sharks. This 60 cm (1.96 ft) young are born large enough to be independent and to search protection from predators such as other species of sharks.
Because they do not have a swimming bladder like other fish, sharks use their large buoyant liver (it constitutes up to 30% of their body mass) and employ a dynamic lift to maintain depth and sink when they are not moving.
During their Galápagos expeditions on board Metropolitan Touring’s vessels or at the Finch Bay Eco Hotel, guests have the great opportunity to encounter these amazing creatures while swimming, snorkeling, riding the zodiacs or strolling along beaches and crevices.

Updated:May 10, 2023

Published:November 26, 2013


Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour 2024 Package: 12 days / Quito, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu / From USD 9,598 per person




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A Font of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for the tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locales on Earth.

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Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It is not a new ship; it was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it, launching it as Santa Cruz II in October 2015.

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Itinerario de 5 días / 4 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (4214 USD + impuestos por persona)
Itinerario de 7 días / 6 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (5672 USD + impuestos por persona)
No reembolsable. Aplica únicamente para residentes ecuatorianos en nuevas reservas directas realizadas, hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, con un ejecutivo de ventas del hotel. Válido para estadías hasta el 31 de agosto de 2022. No puede ser combinada con otros descuentos, promociones u ofertas. El descuento no aplica para otros servicios. El precio no incluye recargo de combustible de $20 por noche de crucero.

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