|Blacktip Reef Sharks - Up to 5.2 ft (1.6m)|
The blacktip reef shark is easily identified by the prominent black tips on its fins. Among the most abundant sharks inhabiting the tropical coral reefs of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, this species prefers shallow, inshore waters. Most blacktip reef sharks are found over reef ledges and sandy flats.
Locations: Komodo & Maldives
|Bull Shark - Up to 11 ft (3.5 m)|
The name "bull shark" comes from the shark's stocky shape, broad, flat snout, and aggressive behavior. Commonly found worldwide in warm, shallow waters along coasts, they can thrive in both saltwater and freshwater and have even been known to travel as far up the Mississippi River as Illinois.
|Caribbean Reef Shark - Up to 10 ft (3 m)|
The Caribbean Reef Shark is the most commonly encountered reef shark in the Caribbean Sea. It has a robust, streamlined body, dusky-colored fins with no prominent markings, and a short free rear tip on the second dorsal fin. It prefers shallow waters on or around coral reefs, and is commonly found near the drop-offs at the reefs' outer edges.
Locations: Bahamas, Belize, Cayman, Turks & Caicos
|Coral Catshark - Up to 28 in (70 cm)|
The bottom-dwelling Coral Catshark is common on shallow coral reefs from Pakistan to South East Asia. It has an extremely slender body, a short head and tail, and two dorsal fins that are angled backwards. It can be identified by the numerous black and white spots on its back, sides, and fins, which often merge to form horizontal bars.
|Galapagos Shark - Up to 9.8 ft (3.0 m)|
Galapagos sharks are active predators that favor clear reef environments around oceanic islands where they are often the most abundant shark species. They are a large species of reef shark with a tall first dorsal fin which has a slightly rounded tip and originates over the rear tips of the pectoral fins.
Locations: Cocos Island, Galapagos Islands
|Great White Shark - Up to 20 ft (6.1 m)|
Great white sharks live in almost all coastal waters with temperature between 54 and 75 °F. They prey on marine mammals, fish & seabirds yet have no known natural predators other than, occasionally, the killer whale. It has a robust, large, conical snout. The upper and lower lobes on the tail fin are approximately the same size.
|Grey Reef Shark - Up to 6.2 ft (1.9 m)|
The Grey Reef Shark is most often seen in shallow water near the drop-offs of coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Their aggressive demeanor enables them to dominate many other shark species on the reef, despite their moderate size. They have a plain or white-tipped first dorsal fin, dark tips on the other fins, a broad, black rear margin on the tail fin.
Locations: Fiji, Palau, Red Sea, Thailand
|Scalloped Hammerhead - Up to 14 ft (4.3 m)|
The Scalloped Hammerhead lives in tropical coastal waters around the globe. Its most distinguishing characteristic is the 'hammer' on its head. It is the most common of all hammerheads. They are often seen in large schools, sometimes numbering hundreds, because it is easier for them to obtain food in as a group than alone.
Locations: Cocos Island, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, Red Sea
|Lemon Shark - Up to 10 ft (3.0 m)|
Lemon sharks select habitats in water that is warm and shallow with a rocky or sandy bottom They often occupy the subtropical shallow waters of coral reefs and mangroves in the western Atlantic. The shark's yellow coloring serves as a perfect camouflage when swimming over the sandy seafloor in its coastal habitat.
Locations: Bahamas, Turks & Caicos
|Leopard Shark - Up to 5.9 ft (1.8 m)|
The Leopard Shark is found over continental and insular shelves in warm temperate to tropical areas of the Indian Ocean and west Pacific Ocean. It has distinctive markings of dark brown leopard-like spots set against a yellow-brown skin tone. Believed to be a nocturnal hunter, they spend most of the day lazily swimming and resting on the ocean floor.
Locations: Maldives, Red Sea, Thailand
|Nurse Shark - Up to 9.8 ft (3.0 m)|
The Nurse Shark is an inshore bottom-dweller, found in reefs, channels between mangrove islands and sand flats of tropical and subtropical waters of the Caribbean. They range in color from yellowish tan to dark brown, brown being the most common color. They are equipped with barbels, or whiskers that can sense nearby food which they suck in like a vacuum.
Locations: Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos
|Silky Shark - Up to 8.2 (2.5 m)|
Silky Sharks are highly mobile and migratory and are one of the most abundant sharks found in open tropical waters around the world. The silky shark has a slender, streamlined body and is named for the smooth texture of its skin. It has a relatively small first dorsal fin, a tiny second dorsal fin and a long, sickle-shaped pectoral fins.
Locations: Cocos Island, Galapagos Islands
|Silvertip Shark - Up to 10 ft (3 m)|
The silvertip shark is widely but not continuously distributed in the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans and are often encountered around offshore islands and coral reefs. A robust, streamlined species with a moderately long, broad snout and large, round eyes. It can be easily identified by the prominent white margins on all its fins.
Locations: Fiji Islands, Palau
|Tiger Shark - Up to 16 ft (5 m)|
Tiger Sharks are found in many tropical and temperate waters throughout the world, and are especially common around central Pacific islands. Its name derives from the dark stripes down its body that resemble a tiger's pattern, which fades as the shark matures. Although a relatively rare phenomenon, the tiger shark is responsible for a large percentage of fatal attacks.
Locations: Tiger Beach, Bahamas
|Whitetip Reef Shark - Up to 5.2 ft (1.6)|
One of the most common sharks found in coral reefs of the central & western pacific. They live on or near the bottom in clear water, resting during the day and hunting at night. It has a slim body, a short, broad head and flat, blunt snout. The tips of the first dorsal fin and upper caudal fin lobe are bright white.
Locations: Alor, Cocos, Fiji Islands, Galapagos, Hawaii, Komodo, Maldives, Red Sea
|Whale Sharks - Up to 46 ft (14 m)|
The whale shark is found in tropical and warm oceans and lives in the open sea, with a lifespan of about 70 years. Whale sharks have very large mouths for filter feeding. The head is wide and flat with two small eyes at the front. Whale sharks are grey with a white belly. Their skin is marked with pale yellow spots and stripes which are unique to each individual.
Locations: Cocos, Galapagos, Komodo, Maldives, Thailand
While many sharks can be seen year-round in their preferred habitates, some of the larger, more migratory breeds are known to travel to locations at different times of the year. Here is a list of some of your favorites and the prime times to encounter them:
Cocos & Galapagos: May - August
Komodo: April and May
Djibouti: November - February
Cocos: June thru September
Djibouti: May - July
Galapagos: June thru November
Red Sea: May to July
Great White Sharks
Guadalupe: August - October
1. The Moses sole is one of the rare fish sharks cannot eat. When a shark bites into one, the fish releases a chemical that causes the shark release it. Scientists are currently attempting to recreate this chemical so they can use it to repel sharks from humans.
2. Whale sharks lay the largest eggs of any animal on land or in the sea. The largest whale shark egg on record measured 14 inches in diameter.
3. The first tiger shark pup to hatch inside its mother’s womb devours its unborn siblings until only two pups remain, one on each side of the womb.
4. The tiger shark is referred to as the “garbage can of the sea” because it will eat anything. Remnants of a chicken coop filled with bones and feathers were once discovered in the stomach of a dead tiger shark.
5. Lantern sharks can glow to disguise themselves in the deep ocean, emitting the same amount of light as that which is filtering down from above; this way, they don't create a "shadow."
6. It’s a misconception that shark cartilage can help cure cancer. Scientists have known for years that sharks get cancer just like us.
7. Bull sharks are actually born in fresh water and once they are older, they frequently move between the ocean and fresh water environments.
8. For every human killed by a shark, about two million sharks are killed by humans
9. When a shark eats food that it can’t digest (like a turtle shell or tin can), it can vomit by thrusting its stomach out its mouth then pulling it back in.
10. The first use of the word “shark” in English occurred in 1569. Previously, English sailors and fishermen used the term “sea dog” or the Spanish tiburón. It could possibly be from the German Schorck, which is a variant of Schurke (“scoundrel villain”).
11. In the 1980s, the efficiency of a shark was compared to that of a submarine and, weight for weight, the shark required six times less driving power. This discovery has led to remarkable new experiments for racing yachts, submarines, and bathing suits that explore “rough” rather than smooth surfaces in the water.
12. Roughly 150 people are killed each year by coconuts compared to sharks killing only 4-12 people a year. Coconuts are more dangerous than sharks!
Learn more about sharks, where and when to find them with Aggressor Liveaboards.