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 Blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus)

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Blacktip reef shark
 Range Map

Earth Map


Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

Class: Carlilagenous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)
  Order: Ground sharks (Carcharhiniformes)
    Family: Requiem sharks (Carcharhinidae)
      Genus: Carcharhinus (Carcharhinus)


Scientific: Carcharhinus melanopterus
German: Schwarzspitzen-Riffhai
English: Blacktip reef shark, Guliman
French: Requin pointes noires
Spanish: Tiburón de puntas negras


Small typical requiem shark with a short, bluntly rounded snout. Horizontally oval eyes. Origin of the first dorsal fin is usually over the pectoral free rear tips. No interdorsal ridge.


Usually light brown upper body, white ventral surface. First dorsal fin and ventral caudal lobe have a conspicuous black apical blotch, which is brilliantly highlighted proximally with white. A conspicuous white band on the flanks.


Indian Ocean: South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar to Red Sea. India, Sri Lanka, Andaman and the Maldives. Western Pacific: Thailand to China, Japan, The Philippines, Australia, and New Caledonia. Central Pacific: From the Hawaiian and Marshall Islands south to the Tuamotu Archipelago. Eastern Mediterranean Sea as an invader through the Suez Canal from the Red Sea.


This species prefers shallow waters close inshore on coral reefs, at depths of only a few meters and commonly in the intertidal zone, often on reef flats in water 30 cm deep or less. It is thought to penetrate into brackish waters. This is one of the three most common species on coral reefs in tropical Oceania, the others are Whitetip reef shark and the Gray reef shark .


Feeds on small fishes and invertebrates


Average size about 160 cm, maximum less than 200 cm.


Viviparous, with yolksac-placenta. 2 to 4 pups per litter. Size at birth between 35 and 50 cm. Gestation period possibly up to 16 months. Males mature with a size between 90 and 100 cm, females mature between 95 and 110 cm.

 Similar Species

The Blacktip shark has no distinct black tip on its first dorsal fin. The Grey reef shark has a white tip on its first dorsal fin.


Status in the IUCN Red List(1994):

Main criterion: > LR/nt (Low Risk/Near Threatened (1994))
Sub criterion:
Trend: Unknown

 Danger to Humans

Not a dangerous species because of its small size.

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