Blacktip Reef Shark
Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) is
a moderately-sized, brownish shark with a blunt snout, horizontally
oval eyes, and obvious black blotches on the first dorsal
apex, lower caudal lobe and the tips of other fins. They lack
an interdorsal ridge.
Pacific blacktips have a light brown dorsal surface fading
to a white ventral surface. Both the first dorsal fin and
ventral caudal lobe exhibit a conspicuous black apical blotch.
Generally less prominent black tips are found on other fins.
Additionally, they typically have a conspicuous white band
along either flank.
The maximum reported length of the blacktip shark is 8.4
feet (255 cm). Size at birth is 15-28 inches (38-72 cm). Average
adult size is around 4.9 feet (150 cm), weighing about 40
lbs. (18 kg). Age at maturity is 4-5 years for males, and
6-7 years for females. The maximum age of blacktips is thought
to be at least 12 years.
In waters off the southeastern U.S., the length at maturity
is 4.8 feet (145 cm) total length (TL) for males corresponding
to a weight of approximately 43 pounds (19.5 kg) and 5.2 feet
(156 cm) TL for females corresponding to a weight of approximately
55 pounds (25 kg) (source: Castro 1996).
Blacktip sharks are cosmopolitan in tropical to subtropical
coastal, shelf, and island waters. In the Atlantic during
their seasonal migration they range from Nova Scotia to Brazil,
but their center of abundance is in the Gulf of Mexico and
Caribbean Sea. They occur throughout the Mediterranean and
along the central West coast of Africa. In the Pacific they
range from Southern California to Peru, including the Sea
of Cortez. They occur at the Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, Tahiti,
and other South Pacific Islands, to the North coast of Australia.
In the Indian Ocean they range from South Africa and Madagascar
up to the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, throughout India's coast,
and east to the coast of China.
The blacktip shark inhabits inshore and offshore waters,
but is not a truly pelagic species. They are often seen nearshore
around river mouths, bays, mangrove swamps, and in other estuaries,
though they do not penetrate far into freshwater. They can
be found offshore and over deep waters near coral reef dropoffs,
but primarily stay in the upper 100 feet (30 m) of the water