Black Tip Reef Shark

Scientific Name Carcharhinus melanopteruso (Name meaning: "Sharp nosed black fin")

Native To IndoPacific and Mediterranean

Habitat Found 0-20 meters deep on lagoons and reef flats.

Size and Age Typically reaches maturity at 0.91 - 1.0 meters for males, 0.97-1.12 meters for females. May reach a maximum size of 2.13 meters.

Natural History

  • Reproduction: Viviparous. Typically gives birth to 3-4 live pups. Juveniles are typically found in water less than 3 meters deep, likely using these "nursery" areas for protection from larger sharks - including adult black tip reef sharks! Lifespan is unknown.

Near Threatened

Interesting Facts

  • Prey mostly on small bony fish like mullet and surgeonfish, will also eat invertebrates. Black tip sharks mostly hunt at night, and may work cooperatively to herd large schools of fish.
  • Known to infrequently bite swimmers or waders, so it is not considered a serious danger to humans. In fact, their shy behaviour often makes them difficult to approach.
  • Shows counter shading camouflage: the shark's dark grey black blends in with the ocean floor while its white belly blends into the brighter surface waters.
  • Caught by inshore fisheries, but not currently targeted by commercial fisheries. However, their long gestation period and small litter size make them vulnerable to declines from overexploitation.