Blacktip reef shark

(Carcharhinus melanopterus)


Blacktip reef shark IUCN NEAR THREATENED (NT)


Facts about this animal

The blacktip reef shark, is a smaller shark species measuring up to 1.8 m and reaching a maximum body-weight of 24 kg: It has a short, bluntly-rounded snout, oval eyes, and narrow-cusped teeth. There are 2 dorsal fins and no interdorsal ridge. The colour of young blacktip reef shark is yellow-brown on the upper parts, and white on the belly. Adults are brownish-grey on the dorsal side, white on the ventral side. All fins have conspicuous black or dark brown tips, and posterior dark edges on the pectoral fins and the upper lobe of the caudal fin. The prominent black tip of first dorsal fin contrasts with a light band below it; a conspicuous dark band on flanks, extending to the pelvic fins. The black tips may fade with age.

Blacktip reef sharks occur singly or in small groups.

Blacktip reef sharks are viviparous. After a gestation period of about 10 months they give birth to a litter of 2-4 pups. The size at birth of the young sharks ranges from 33-52 cm.

For food, the blacktip reef shark prefers reef fishes, but it also feeds on stingrays, crustaceans, and molluscs.

Did you know?
that more sharks are eaten by people than people are eaten by sharks? The blacktip reef shark is generally marketed fresh (as fillet), may be dried, salted, smoked or frozen. Fins are valued for shark-fin soup; a market that is decimating shark populations worldwide. They are also sought for their liver as source of oil.


Name (Scientific) Carcharhinus melanopterus
Name (English) Blacktip reef shark
Name (French) Requin à pointes noires
Name (German) Schwarzspitzenriffhai
Name (Spanish) Tiburón punta negra
Local names African: Svartvin-rifhaai
Bahasa Indonesia: Hiu
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
David Burdick



Range Occurs in warm waters around the globe: Mediterranean, Black Sea, Indian Ocean, Pacific
Habitat Shallow waters on and near coral reefs, occasionally cross deepwater channels between adjacent reefs, in brackish waters and even in fresh water near the sea. Occurs from the water surface to a depth of 75 m
Wild population Unknown. Common in tropical and subtropical waters. The population trend is decreasing (Red List IUCN 2012)
Zoo population Considering that most publc aquaria are not part of the WAZA system and do not register their collections with ISIS, available ISIS data are not significant.

In the Zoo

Blacktip reef shark


How this animal should be transported

For air transport of small individuals, Container Note 52 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.

Sharks must be unpacked carefully and under low illumination.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Edward Callaghan

Why do zoos keep this animal

This is a handy and active shark species, which is a good ambassador for marine conservation.