Creature Feature: Blacktip Reef Shark

Female-blacktip-reef-shark-with-mating-scars Valerie Taylor Arkive

I bet you can guess how this week’s shark got its name! Even people who are not learned scientists like all of you readers could probably guess that Blacktip Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) have blacked tips on their fins. Not only that, but they also have a white belly and darker back to camouflage in the water. Ten points to you if you remembered countershading! Blacktips can reach a max size of approximately 6 feet. The Blacktip reef shark is one of the common reef sharks that you will find swimming around in shallow depths of reef flats and near drop offs along the Indo-Pacific Ocean.

These sharks are highly curious about what is happening around them. If you enjoy swimming in those warmer waters, have no fear – they are timid sharks and frighten very easily. When swimming around the reefs you can observe them feeding on small fish. Check out this video of blacktip reef sharks swimming.

http://www.arkive.org/blacktip-reef-shark/carcharhinus-melanopterus/video-00.html

Happy shark learning to you. Join us next week as we explore a bathydemersal shark. Another ten points if you can pronounce bathydemersal!

References:
Edited by KC O’Shea
Photography from ARkive: Valerie Taylor
http://aqua.org/explore/animals/blacktip-reef-shark
http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/gallery/descript/blacktipreefshark/blacktipreefshark.html
http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/fishes/blacktip-reef-shark
Heupel, M. 2009. Carcharhinus melanopterus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 18 June 2015.

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