Who is the oceanic whitetip shark?
From its scientific name Carcharhinus longimanus, the longimane shark is also called oceanic whitetip shark, offshore whitetip shark or offshore whitetip shark. It must be said that this shark, which can reach 4 meters in length and weighs around 170 kg, is easily recognizable by its rounded fin and fins, with white at the ends.
⋙ Which sharks live along the French coast?
It is mainly found between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, in waters between 19°C and 28°C, and tends to prefer the open sea, down to 180 meters deep.
It usually lives alone, but it can also form large groups when food is plentiful, and indulge in feeding frenzies.
⋙ Valerie Taylor, the shark specialist who inspired Jaws
Considered an opportunist, he finds almost everything to his liking: fish, sea turtles, seabirds, carrion, etc.
With a very good sense of smell, this species can be particularly aggressive and unpredictable. She is not afraid of humans, and can be insistent in front of divers.
The longimane shark, specialist in disasters
The oceanic shark “is considered potentially dangerous to humans. It is often the first species observed in the waters surrounding ocean disasters”explains the Florida Museum.
But that’s not all. According to the Florida Museum, while the white shark has a bad reputation, it is actually the oceanic whitetip shark that is believed to be responsible for many fatal shark bites on humans, due to predation on survivors of shipwrecks or air crashes.
⋙ What are the most dangerous sharks in the world?
Thus, in a shipwreck off the coast of South Africa during World War II, only 192 of the 1,000 passengers survived. A large number of deaths were attributed to the oceanic whitetip shark.
This is why Commander Jacques-Yves Cousteau called him a “most dangerous of sharks”.
The longimane shark sows terror in Egypt
For several years, shark attacks, sometimes fatal, in Egypt have been in the headlines. Two tourists have just lost their lives while on vacation in Hurghada. The species behind these attacks has not yet been formally identified.
⋙ Egypt: Two European tourists killed by a shark
On the other hand, in December 2020, a tourist had been saved by her diving instructor after a violent shark attack. It was indeed a longimane shark. This accident had led to the establishment of a scientific committee to investigate a possible change in the behavior of sharks in the area.
⋙ Egypt: violently attacked by a shark, a tourist saved by her diving instructor
Before that, a Czech tourist was killed by a shark attack in the Red Sea in 2018. In 2015, another German tourist was killed by an oceanic whitetip shark near Marsa Alam. In 2010, a single individual of this species was responsible for several attacks on tourists near Sharm el-Sheikh.
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