Despite its docile nature during the day the nocturnal whitetip reef shark can become aggressive when hunting at night, thrashing through coral reefs looking for potential prey. The whitetip reef shark usually hunts alone, but is non-territorial and will occasionally work in cooperation with others in the pursuit of prey (3). Feeding primarily on bottom-dwelling octopus, lobsters, crabs and bony fish, it often chases its prey into a crevice before jamming its body in after it, sealing the exit (4). The extremely posterior location of the first dorsal fin compared to those of other sharks is an adaptation to this feeding habit, which allows them to get their heads and mouths much further into the gaps and holes in the coral (5).
The whitetip reef shark’s mating season varies with location (4). Reproduction is viviparous and after a gestation period of around a year (5) the female will give birth to one to five live pups, which are completely independent at birth (3). Both sexes reach sexual maturity at approximately five years old, and it is estimated that this species can live to an age of 25 years (2).