Talk:Oceanic whitetip shark

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Featured article Oceanic whitetip shark is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on July 26, 2007.
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Date Process Result
August 3, 2004 Featured article candidate Not promoted
July 23, 2006 Peer review Reviewed
August 21, 2006 Featured article candidate Promoted
Current status: Featured article
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Oceanic Whitetip Shark[edit]

(Contested - July 13)

  • Object. Needs a picture, at least. Compare Humpback Whale to see how good an article on a sea creature can be. — Matt 02:40, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)
    • I agree that a picture can speak a thousand words in this type of article, and we should add one here if at all possible. However a quick comment: the nice thing about writing about Humpbacks is that they are one of the most studied sea animals around, meaning there is a lot of information available on them. This is not the case for other cetacean species - the answer to many questions is simply "unknown". I suspect the same will be true all but the most headline-grabbing shark species. I would be happy to see this article get featured status. I like the slightly chatty style, but others have been concerned about this style in the past. Pcb21| Pete 13:04, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)
      • Sure, I concede that if there's not much known, then that's fine — Wikipedia compiles human knowledge, and can't do anything if that knowledge is lacking. A photo or diagram is really requisite, though. — Matt 20:38, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)
        • I now think there is more knowledge that we can document; see the comment below. — Matt 01:37, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • I should clarify: This is a self-nomination. Sorry for omitting that.

There are no public domain photos (or drawings) of this species online. I contacted a photographer for permission to use an excellent underwater shot. One reason I (self-)nominated the article is that it makes a fairly easy, but genuine contribution to our knowledge about sharks. The Oceanic Whitetip is the most dangerous shark in the world, with the most human fatalities, yet since it lives in the open water, that data doesn't connect with typical shark-attack indices. It's simply not credited. This is the only article for a general readership (that I've ever seen) that connects the dots. The Oceanic Whitetip is also, according to marine biologists, probably the most common large animal in the world. I think that rises beyond trivia and makes this a species of far more importance than it's usually given. And to concur with Pcb21, it's true that far more is known about Humpback Whales than about sharks, and far less about the Whitetip than about other, more famous species of shark. -Auto Movil

  • alright, a cryptoanalyst thinks articles on sea creatures should have photos. there's no photo available. i disagree on that assessment, but dowanna argue; it's withdrawn.
    • I agree with Exploding Boy below: "don't be too hasty". Feel free to argue. Articles that have objections can still be promoted. There just has to be a consensus to promote. It's perfectly valid for any non-specialist — even a cryptanalyst (there's no "o") — to have an opinion on the quality of an article; ideally there should be both specialist and non-specialist vetting on this page. — Matt 17:47, 17 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • Don't be too hasty. Support. Exploding Boy 07:09, Jul 15, 2004 (UTC)
  • Object. 1. The sections (perhaps even the whole article) are too short. 2. There are no references; if the External Links are used as such, they should be properly formatted, for example in (not necessarily in) the APA Style. 3. Some measurements provide Imperial equivalents, while others do not. Either all measurements, or none of the measurements, should provide Imperial equivalents. 4. Capitalisation varies in the article. It uses "Oceanic Whitetip" as well as "Oceanic whitetip." Which is correct? 5. Several sections require wiki-links. -- Emsworth 18:23, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • Object - way too short for featured. No lead section, stub sections, no info on evolution. Much more needed. --mav 01:17, 18 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • Support. After searching for about an hour and a half - I found a PD image on a Hawaiian US govt. site. I have created a map of distribution. Created naming section - and added information to Habitat and Distribution. As well as references. --[[User:OldakQuill|Oldak Quill]] 18:07, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • Object, but an easy one to fix. If that is all the known material thats fine (to me), but it needs a summary of the important material in the intro section. One or two paragraphs is fine. - Taxman 01:19, Jul 20, 2004 (UTC)
  • Object. Thanks to OldakQuill for the images, they really help. 1) As mentioned by Taxman, the lead section needs a lot of work. 2) I don't know much about sharks, but a little Googling turned up some sites which suggest there's information about that we don't have in our article; [1] in particular has loads of info. — Matt 01:37, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • I have adapted all the remaining information from the link provided by Matt, as well as several other websites - filling up the Anatomy section. I have created a rough lead section. More references. Several other additions to other sections. --[[User:OldakQuill|Oldak Quill]] 12:06, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • Object. 1) "and the feeding frenzy is the equivalent of a midnight clearance sale at Macy's." — I'd reword this, but I've no idea what it means ;-) 2) "the species being especially high-strung and goal-directed when not pokily plying the open ocean" could do with fixing, too. 3) Only noteworthy authors should be linked in the references section, otherwise you get an ugly set of red links that will never have articles written; the Richard Ellis link needs either removing or disambiguating. 4) Possible to Wikify the "Importance to humans" section? 5) [2] — apparently, this species can sniff surface air bubbles, "This would give the Oceanic Whitetip a major competitive advantage over other sharks in the otherwise featureless expanse of the open sea." — could we mention this? 6) There seem to be a lot of them: [3] quotes them as "the most numerous large animal on earth". 'Encycl. Britannic online has "The whitetip shark (C. longimanus) frequents all oceanic tropical waters, in which it is probably the most commonly occurring large shark."; could we discuss how numerous they are in more depth? — Matt 23:57, 22 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • The final sentence is confusing: "... approach the shark only with extreme caution and to not spear fish near this shark; and hit it on the snout, gills or eyes if it starts to push the diver." Does this mean to hit it? Or not hit it if pushed? Perhaps this should be split into two sentences: "Also, divers are advised to (not) hit it..."

Note that the article has been improved again since then. Ideally we should be able to get this featured. Pcb21| Pete 07:39, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Needs a rewrite.

One of the best individual shark species articles[edit]

There's no question that this is one of the best, if not the best article as far as individual shark species go. If you want to see something bad go to Tiger shark; and if you want to see something really, really bad go to Bull shark. I have been on a personal crusade to try and get people interested in improving these articles.--Hokeman 04:22, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

  • I think it should make FA status if it is put up again now - all the issues raised at the time have been addressed. Contrast the version that almost made it last time and the current version (although standards might be higher now, it is still better than a lot or articles that are already featured) .Yomangani 15:44, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree, but I have not read the real requirements for FA status for a long time. I think that to make it featured we need to improve the references, i.e. make more of the individual facts referenced. What more that needs to be done I'm not sure, but we should be able to make that happen. I'm very busy IRL now but will support as much as possible. Stefan 08:27, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
I think the important facts are referenced directly and there is good list of references at the bottom. I've put it up for peer review anyway to see what others think. Yomangani 12:06, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
So what more needs to be done to get to FA status? I would really like some references for the naming section, but do not have access to any books that talks about this, and my limited google searches give me nothing of value. I think it will still be considered to be to small and contain to few facts when compared to other animal FA articles, but as argued before I'm not sure we can write much more? Stefan 11:45, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm not happy with the behaviour section - I haven't found a single source for anything after 'sea dogs'. I tracked down the original editor, who turned out to be User:Auto movil, to ask if they had a source, but as you can see from their user page they didn't have a particularly fun time with this article and haven't replied yet. I think the naming section lists its references inline, although I suspect they are from intermediate sources. Most of that is listed in the FAO catalogue though so we can use the Compagno ref there. I've just got the FAO catalogue back so I'll go through and fill out what I can. Yomangani 12:03, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Peer review/Automated[edit]

The following suggestions were generated by a semi-automatic javascript program, and may or may not be accurate for the article in question.

  • The lead of this article may be too long, or may contain too many paragraphs. Please follow guidelines at WP:LEAD; be aware that the lead should adequately summarize the article. Stefan 10:03, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Per WP:CONTEXT and WP:MOSDATE, months and days of the week generally should not be linked. Years, decades, and centuries can be linked if they provide context for the article. None linked anyway (apart from those in the cite template) Yomangani 15:31, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • See if possible if there is a free use image that can go on the top right corner of this article. javascript needs to learn how to read taxoboxes :-) Stefan 12:56, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Per WP:MOSNUM, there should be a non-breaking space -   between a number and the unit of measurement. For example, instead of 18mm, use 18 mm, which when you are editing the page, should look like: 18 mm. Stefan 12:13, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Per WP:MOSNUM, when doing conversions, please use standard abbreviations: for example, miles -> mi, kilometers squared -> km2, and pounds -> lb. Also all OK. Yomangani 15:31, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • There are a few occurrences of weasel words in this article- please observe WP:AWT. Certain phrases should specify exactly who supports, considers, believes, etc., such a view. For example,
    • it has been
    • might be weasel words, and should be provided with proper citations (if they already do, or are not weasel terms, please strike this comment).
  • Watch for redundancies that make the article too wordy instead of being crisp and concise. (You may wish to try Tony1's redundancy exercises.)
    • Vague terms of size often are unnecessary and redundant - “some”, “a variety/number/majority of”, “several”, “a few”, “many”, “any”, and “all”. For example, “All pigs are pink, so we thought of a number of ways to turn them green.”
  • As is done in WP:FOOTNOTE, for footnotes, the footnote should be located right after the punctuation mark, such that there is no space inbetween. For example, change blah blah [2]. to blah blah.[2] Stefan 12:20, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Please ensure that the article has gone through a thorough copyediting so that the it exemplifies some of Wikipedia's best work. See also User:Tony1/How to satisfy Criterion 2a.

You may wish to browse through User:AndyZ/Suggestions (and the javascript checklist; see the last paragraph in the lead) for further ideas. Thanks, Andy t 23:45, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Added for easier reference, please strike out sections fixed. Stefan 12:06, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Resolve contradiction?[edit]

The oceanic whitetip, unlike the great white, is highly opportunistic and aggressive; and will attack humans for food.
Even though this is one of the most dangerous sharks, divers have swum with this shark repeatedly without being harmed (it is a popular draw for dive tourism because of its size and the perceived danger).

I can't resolve the apparent contradiction between these two statements: help? Sandy 14:10, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

"will" should probably be "has been known to" for the sake of clarity. I'll fix it. Yomangani 14:23, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
But how can people swim with them, if they attacked all those sailors? Sandy 14:28, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Trusting to luck and experience I guess. I'll see if I can reword it slightly without adding POV. Yomangani 14:51, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
As with all animals, it will only attack weak opponents and will only attack when hungry, so they do not kill those sailors minutes after they fall into the water, but days later when they are very weak. Lions and tigers have killed many more humans than any shark, still watch discovery and see photographers walk 10's of meters from both lions and tigers, they would NOT do this if they where hurt or if the lion/tigers where hungry. But most of the time it is ok. Sharks are see as to be dangerous killing machines (but this is POV), they are actually not. Have you seen the video clip of Jean-Michel Cousteau hitching a ride of a great white shark? The point is that shark are not as dangerous as you think, so when someone states that this is one of the most dangerous shark there is (that is correct), but you read that as a very very very dangerous shark which kills instantaneously (which it si not), that is because you are brought up on JAWS and does not know how sharks really behave in the water, so many people have dived and snorkeled with this shark (me included) and I'm still alive, so there is no contradiction! Stefan 10:39, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
One more link that shows how not so dangerous a great white shark really is [4], this guy also swims with it outside the cage. Stefan 14:07, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
On a related note, how can it be responsible for most unprovoked shark attacks when it is so far down this list? Bendž|Ť 14:05, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
See Talk:Shark_attack for old discussion about the same topic, wich give you a answer. --Stefan talk 04:29, 28 August 2007 (UTC)


Until the 16th century, sharks were known to mariners as 'sea dogs'.[citation needed] C. longimanusThe oceanic whitetip, the commonest most common ship-following shark,[citation needed] can exhibits rather dog-like behavior when its interest is piqued: when attracted to something that appears to be food(comma) its movements become more avid and it will approach cautiously but stubbornly, retreating and maintaining the minimum safe distance if driven off, but ready for a rush of boldness if the opportunity presents itself.

Sandy 14:16, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

I've added some commas and things here and there: please go through and doublecheck them, since I'm no grammarian. Sandy 14:35, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

The Picture[edit]

The picture (the one at the very top) isnt very good, to say the least. Could someone find a decent one? There's tons of them on google images, and im pretty sure a nice email to the webmaster/copyright holder would work wonders if anyones concerned about those kind of issues. Id do this, but i really have no good clue. PAX Schafer71.107.69.226 23:54, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

"oceanic" = "pelagic"?[edit]

I first learned of this species many years ago, as the "pelagic whitetip"; in a general sense the two words could be pretty much interchangeable, with "pelagic" being more precise. However, when tying down distinct zoological entities, is there such flexibility? Is the "oceanic whitetip" NOT a "pelagic whitetip"?

It seems like splitting hairs, but since this is a "featured article", I didn't want to just charge in with my opinions.....

Thanx, cheers, - pterantula

You are correct, but the common name is "oceanic whitetip" and this is what is given in the FAO catalogue and Fishbase which we've pretty much used as the authoritative sources on the shark articles (personally, I don't recall having seen it called the "pelagic whitetip", but that means nothing). From a quick Google "pelagic whitetip" gets 10 results, oceanic whitetip 44,000+ (even ruling out the irrelevant ones it's still going to be substantially higher). I have put redirects in for pelagic whitetip and pelagic whitetip shark now though. Cheers, Yomanganitalk 10:25, 31 October 2006 (UTC)


It would be great if the article included some explanation of why they are always seen accompanied by pilotfish.--Primalchaos 21:03, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

21st century[edit]

...shark-attack indices for the 20th and 21st centuries... When did the 21st century start, & has there been enough time to compile an index? GrahamBould 20:20, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

The international shark attack file compiles yearly statistics.


'ey guys, would anyone object if I tried rearranging the article into a format that might be better suited for education? I'm asking first since this seems to be a poupular page. Shrumster 05:41, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

I'll try it out. I won't change any text so it'll be easily reverted if the changes are unsatisfactory. Shrumster 06:08, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Plural of "Fish"?[edit]

they may be observed with pilot fishes, dolphin fishes, and remoras

I was always taught that, like "sheep", the plural of "fish" is "fish"? Or is it different for American English? ~~ Gromreaper(Talk)/(Cont) 03:11, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

I was always taught that there are two different ways to pluralize "fish." If you're talking about multiple fish of the same species, it's just "fish," but if you're talking about multiple fish of multiple species, it's "fishes." But I could be wrong. Douggers 05:58, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
Same with people and peoples. Mgiganteus1 06:33, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
See fish#"Fish" or "fishes", "school" or '"shoal"? for a good definition of fish and fishes. --Stefan talk 05:30, 27 July 2007 (UTC)


Why isn't this page protected if it's the day's featured article? I found a bit of vandalism on it just now. --Antonio.sierra 14:32, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Relationship to humans[edit]

The stat stating that the chances of being killed by a shark is "1 in 300 million" is a worthless, non-realistic statistic IMHO. I'm going out to mow my lawn today in the midwest US and I assume my chances are zero. Wouldn't a statistic based on "open ocean swimmers" be more appropriate? I did remove the comment refering to the "near extinction of the species" as that did not seem to refer to this species. Vespid 15:41, 26 July 2007 (UTC)


Congrats to all the editors of this articles on reaching feature article status!!!!!!!!! BloodyWednesdayError 17:23, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

just in time for Shark Week (july 29) 18:31, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Attack conclusions = Original Research?[edit]

It seems the conclusions in this article regarding the number of humans killed from ship accidents are original research. There is a reference above that says this article "connects the dots" whereas other resources do not - which is WP:OR. If the references sources are inferring this species is responsible for for a great number of deaths, at least this should be explicitly stated as an inferred conclusion which has not been confirmed with the level of certainty normally associated with a reliable secondary resource. Fireproeng 19:20, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Can you be more specific, what in ref 1 and 2 in the article is WP:OR? Are you questioning the references or are you stating that those refs and other are inconsistant? Yes International Shark Attack File and these refs do not agree, and there are resons, see e.g. recent discussion at Talk:Shark_attack. --Stefan talk 23:54, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Also the comments you are refering to about connecting the dots was for the 2004 version of this article that did not pass FA, at that time I guess there was not that much references and it probably was WP:OR. --Stefan talk 01:13, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Compagno 1984, wrong reference?[edit]

Dear Writers,
I am writing on a german article on this shark and I am a bit confused about Despite the greater notoriety of the great white shark and other sharks habitually found nearer the shore, the oceanic whitetip is considered responsible for more fatal attacks on humans than all other species combined, as a result of predation on those shipwrecked or from aircraft downed in the open ocean. is referenced with Compagno 1984 - there is no hint in Compagno on this dramatical phrase, he just stated This is a dangerous species, responsible for a few verified and unverified attacks on swimmers and boats. and This shark was thought by Bass, D'Aubrey & Kistnasamy (1973) to have been chiefly responsible for the deaths of many people in the water after the ship "Nova Scotia" was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine during the second world war off northern Natal, South Africa. - that's all! Greetings, -- Achim Raschka (talk) 07:09, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

The same statement is referenced to two other references in the lead, one beeing Bass 73, I changed it. Thanks a lot!! --Stefan talk 14:00, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Shark attacks[edit]

The oceanic whitetip shark article claims that the species is "a danger to survivors of oceanic shipwrecks and downed aircraft — it has attacked more humans than all other shark species combined." The tiger shark article claims that the species is "second only to the great white shark in number of recorded attacks on humans." I haven't checked to see what the great white shark article claims. So which is it? Either one of the articles needs to be reworded or clarified or the statistics are wrong. -- (talk) 04:23, 10 August 2009 (UTC) There needn't be any inconsistency read into those statements. If white tips have attacked the most people followed by great whites (why does it always have to be about the 'whites'?) and then tiger sharks, then tiger sharks are only second to great whites. Tiger sharks would be third to white tips (in combination with great whites). Or, more reasonably the number of individual attacks reports are greatest for those attributed to great whites followed by tiger sharks, however the number of white tip attacks is thought to be much higher but underreported. (talk) 21:06, 18 October 2015 (UTC) BGriffin