Blacktip reef shark

Species images and information provided by Encyclopedia of Life

Scientific Name:

Carcharhinus melanopterus (Quoy and Gaimard, 1824)

Common Names:

blacktip reef shark,Black fin reef shark,Black finned shark,Black tip reef shark,Black tip shark,Black tips nilow,Black-tip reef shark,Blackfin reef shark,Blacktip reefshark,Blacktip shark,Guliman,Reef blacktip shark,Requien shark,Shark

More about this critter:

This powerful swimmer is well known for its tendency to enter incredibly shallow water, and is often found in water only 30 centimetres deep or less, with its distinctive dorsal fin protruding from the surface of the water. It is also found near the bottom or in mid-water in deeper water, singly or in small groups (2). It feeds on a wide variety of small fish and invertebrates, including mullet, groupers, wrasses, cuttlefish, squid, shrimp (2). Blacktip reef sharks are viviparous, and therefore the embryos develop inside the mother, for about 16 months. Females generally give birth between late winter and early summer, to between two and four pups (2). However, reproductive cycles appear to vary throughout the blacktip reef shark's range, with reports of annual, biannual and biennial reproductive cycles (5). The blacktip reef shark is not an extremely dangerous species, although it is responsible for several provoked and unprovoked attacks on humans. Many are on people that are swimming or wading on reefs, presumably because they were mistaken for small prey. These sharks are more cautious when encountering divers and can usually be driven off (2).


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