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Blacktip reef shark

Blacktip reef shark

(Carcharhinus melanopterus)

The blacktip reef shark is an Indo-Pacific species found from the Red Sea and East Africa to Hawaii and French Polynesia. It has also reached the eastern Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal. This shark prefers shallow, inshore waters on coral reefs and intertidal reef flats. It also moves in and out of mangroves with the tidal flow.

This shark preys upon the abundant fish and invertebrates in these areas and often can be seen pursuing them into very shallow water with its dorsal fin protruding above the surface. The blacktip reef shark can reach five feet in length, and, although aggressive, it is not particularly dangerous to humans.

Visit the Ocean Voyager gallery and watch for the blacktip reef sharks swimming above you near the surface.

Fun Facts

  • The blacktip reef shark has been reported to consume snakes it catches in the mangroves.
  • This species can be seen swimming alone or in small schools.
  • The female gives live birth to two to four pups after a gestation period of about 16 months.
  • The blacktip reef shark should not be confused with the “blacktip shark”, which is a different species.
  • The maximum weight reported for this species was about 30 pounds.
  • Download full fact sheet

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