Silvertip Shark, Carcharhinus albimarginatus (Rüppell 1837)

A Silvertip Shark, Carcharhinus albimarginatus with a fish hook, at Day Reef near Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland - note the fish hook. Source: Lyle Vail / Lizard Island Research Station. License: CC BY Attribution


A medium-sized whaler shark with the following identifying features:

  • First dorsal, pectoral and upper caudal fin with distinct white fin tips
  • A ridge between the first and second dorsal fins (interdorsal ridge)
  • First dorsal fin tapered and narrowly rounded or pointed at the tip.
  • The Silvertip Shark can be aggressive and is potentially dangerous to humans.

    Cite this page as:
    Dianne J. Bray, Carcharhinus albimarginatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Apr 2024,

    Silvertip Shark, Carcharhinus albimarginatus (Rüppell 1837)

    More Info


    Widespread but patchy distribution in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Known in northern Australian waters from about Carnarvon (Western Australia) to Bundaberg (Queensland); absent from the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Arafura Sea.

    The Silvertip Shark inhabits continental shelf and offshore waters, around offshore islands and coral reefs, in depths from the surface to 800 m. Adults are wide-ranging, whereas the young prefer shallower waters closer to shore.


    Body slender, snout long, broadly rounded; eyes large; ridge present between the dorsal fins; first dorsal fin large with a pointed tip, originating above or slightly before the free tips of the pectoral fins; second dorsal fin originating above or slightly behind the anal-fin origin; pectoral fins large, with narrowly rounded or pointed tips; caudal fin with a large upper lobe.


    To 3 metres in length.


    Body grey to greyish-brown with a bronze sheen above, pale below, with an indistinct pale stripe along the sides to above the pectoral fin. First dorsal, pectoral and caudal fins with distinct white tips..


    Viviparous, with a yolk sac placenta. Females give birth to 1-11 pups per litter every second year, after a gestation period of 12 months. The young are born at 73-81 cm TL.  (Compagno et al. 2005). This is a large, slow-growing shark, which reaches a maximum size of 300 cm TL (Compagno et al. 2005).  White et al. (2006) report that males mature at 190-200 cm TL and females at ~195 cm TL.


    Taken as bycatch in longline, gillnet and trawl fisheries throughout its range, and caught in high-seas longline and net fisheries that target tunas.


  • IUCN Red List: Near Threatened
  • EPBC Act: Not Listed
  • Etymology

    Carcharhinus is from the Greek karcharos meaning 'sharpen', and rhinos meaning nose, in reference to the pointed snout. The species name albimarginatus is from the Latin albi meaning 'white' and marginatus meaning enclose or surround with a border - in reference to the distinct white fin margins.

    Species Citation

    Carcharias albimarginatus Rüppell, W.P.E. 1837. Neue Wirbelthiere zu der Fauna von Abyssinien gehörig. Fische des Rothen Meeres. Frankfurt Vol. 3, pp. 53–80, pls 15–21 [64, pl. 18(1)].Type data: Lectotype SMF 3582 ♂ dried and mounted, Ras Mehomet, Red Sea.


    Dianne J. Bray

    Silvertip Shark, Carcharhinus albimarginatus (Rüppell 1837)


    Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

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

    Anderson, R.C. and Simpfendorfer, C.A. 2005. Indian Ocean. In: S.L. Fowler, M. Camhi, G.H. Burgess, G.M. Cailliet, S.V. Fordham, R.D. Cavanagh, C.A. Simpfendorfer and J.A. Musick (eds), Sharks, rays and chimaeras: the status of the chondrichthyan fishes, pp. 140-149. IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

    Clarke, S.C., McAllister, M.K., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Kirkwood, G.P., Michielsens, C.G.J., Agnew, D.J., Pikitch, E.K., Nakano, H. and Shivji, M.S. 2006. Global estimates of shark catches using trade records from commercial markets. Ecology Letters 9: 1115-1126.

    Clarke, S., Magnusson, J.E., Abercrombie, D.L., McAllister, M. & Shivji, M.S. 2006. Identification of shark species composition and proportion in the Hong Kong shark fin market using molecular genetics and trade records. Conservation Biology 20: 201-211.

    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.

    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.

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

    Fowler, H.W. 1941. Contributions to the biology of the Philippine Archipelago and adjacent regions. The fishes of the groups Elasmobranchii, Holocephali, Isospondyli and Ostariophysi obtained by the United States Bureau of Fisheries Steamer Albatross in 1907 to 1910, chiefly in the Philippine Islands and adjacent seas. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 100(13): 1-879 figs 1-30

    Fowler, S.L., Cavanagh, R.D., Camhi, M., Burgess, G.H., Caillet, G.M., Fordham, S.V., Simpfendorfer, C.A. and Musick, J.A. (comps and eds). 2005. Sharks, Rays and Chimaeras: The Status of the Chondricthyan Fishes. Status Survey. pp. x + 461. IUCN/SSC Shark Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

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

    Last, P. R. , W. T. White, J. N. Caira, Dharmadi, Fahmi, K. Jensen, A. P. K. Lim. B. M. Manjaji-Matsumoto, G. J. P. Naylor, J. J. Pogonoski. J. D. Stevens & G. K. Yearsley. 2010. Sharks and rays of Borneo. CSIRO Publications: i-v + 1-298.

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

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

    Pillans, R., Medina, E. & Dulvy, N.K. 2009. Carcharhinus albimarginatus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <>. Downloaded on 12 September 2012.

    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.

    Rosenblatt, R.H. & Baldwin, W.J. 1958. A review of the eastern Pacific sharks of the genus Carcharhinus, with a redescription of C. malpeloensis (Fowler) and California records of C. remotus (Duméril). California Fisheries and Game 44: 137-159.

    Voigt, M. & D. Weber. 2011. Field guide for sharks of the genus Carcharhinus. Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil, München. 1-151, Pls. 1-31.

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37018027

    Conservation:IUCN Near Threatened

    Danger:Aggressive, potentially dangerous to humans

    Depth:0-800 m

    Fishing:Fished commercially

    Habitat:Pelagic, oceanic

    Max Size:300 cm TL

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