Blacktip Reef Shark
Scientific name............Carcharhimus Melanopterus
Common names..........Blacktip reef whaler and black shark
Blacktip reef sharks are easily recognized by their distinct black
marks on their fins particularly the first dorsal and lower lobe of
the caudal fin. They are small to medium in size, with a short,
The blacktip reef shark can grow up to 6 feet long, and their length
at birth is approximately 13 to 20 inches in long.
Their teeth are narrow, sharp, and strongly serrated, designed for
eating the reef fish that comprise their main food. The teeth are
located in rows which are replaced as needed due to lost, broken, or
The body is blue-gray in color. With their distinct black markings
on dorsal and caudal fins they also have a conspicuous white slash
along their flanks.
Blacktip reef sharks mostly eat reef fish. It commonly preys on
sturgeon fishes and mullet, and terrestrial snakes. There was even a
report of a blacktip reef sharks chasing schooling fish onto shore
and sliding up onto the beach to capture them. These sharks are also
preyed upon by other sharks.
The blacktip reef shark is usually found singly, although they have
been known to hunt in small groups
Blacktip reef sharks are most common in shallow lagoons and coral
reefs of the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans. In recent years
some have entered the eastern Mediterranean via the Suez Canal. They
are most commonly seen patrolling in shallow waters from about 12
inches to 33 feet.
The blacktip reef sharks are viviiparous with the yolk sac being
attached by the placenta and gives birth from 2-4 pups. Gestation
period is approximately 16 months and the pups measuring 13-20
They are known to be fast swimmers.
The blacktip reef sharks will attack speared fish, and are curious,
but not aggressive, around divers. On rare occasions, because these
sharks patrol shallow water, they have bitten waders on the legs and
ankles due to the splashing commotion by the waders.
They are a common shark and because they are a small hardy species a
number of them have been captured and sent to public aquariums