White-Tipped Shark 3 Feet Off of Beach

ID: SIA2013-08817

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: February-March 1963

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 245, Box 221, Folder 16

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A white-tipped or whitetip reef shark swimming in shallow water three feet off of the beach. A reef can be seen underneath the shark, below the surface of the water. The image was captured by members of the Leeward Survey 1 expedition in 1963. The caption found in the album containing the image reads: White-Tipped Shark 3 feet off of beach.


Pacific Ocean Biological Survey Program


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • This image comes from the Pacific Ocean Biological Survey Program (POBSP) Leewards Survey 1, which occurred from February to March of 1963. The Leeward Islands are the western part of the Society Islands in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France in the South Pacific. The POBSP was initiated in 1962 when the Smithsonian Institution entered into a grant agreement with the Department of Defense. During the period from January 1963 through June 1969, Smithsonian Institution employees undertook biological surveys in an area of the Pacific Ocean spanning the equator and extending from latitude 30 degrees north to 10 degrees south and from longitude 150 degrees to 180 degrees west, an area dotted with clusters of islands and atolls. The major goals of the program were to learn what plants and animals occurred on the islands, the seasonal variations in their numbers and reproductive activities, and the distribution and population of the pelagic birds of that area.
  • The whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus) is a species of requiem shark, family Carcharhinidae. The only member of its genus, it is a small, narrow shark that has a white-tipped dorsal and caudal fins. Whitetip sharks are most commonly found in Indo-Pacific coral reefs, and can be found between the coasts of South Africa and Central America. These sharks are not typically aggressive towards humans, by are often curious about swimmers.
  • The geographic map's latitude and longitude are a point found in the area known as the Leeward Islands. There is no known exact location for this image.
  • For additional images from the Pacific Ocean Biological Survey Program (POBSP) Leewards Survey 1, see Negative Numbers SIA2013-08816 and SIA2013-08818.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 245, Box 221, Folder 16

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


February-March 1963

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Animals
  • Fishes
  • Sharks
  • Bodies of water


  • Unknown
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Leeward Islands Chain


  • Photographic print
  • Animal, candid

ID Number


Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and White; Size: 4.25w x 3.25h; Type of Image: Animal, candid; Medium: Photographic print

Full Record

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