Blacktip Reef Shark Facts for Kids

Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) is easily spotted thanks to the black tips on its fins. It has a short snout with oval eyes. Like all sharks, it has white underbelly and pale gray-to-brown on top.

Keep in mind: Blacktip Reef Shark and Blacktip Shark are two different fish.

It can grow up to a maximum length of 5.9 feet and a maximum weight of 30 pounds. At birth, the size of pups is around 1.3 to 1.6 feet in length.

Backtip reef sharks reach maturity at a length of 3 to 3.6 feet. It reproduces calves after every year, once in every two years and also twice in a year. In northern Australia, mating season lies between January and February.

A litter size can range from 2 to 4 pups (IUCN Red List).

It is one of the only three sharks that dwell on coral reefs of Indo-Pacific, the other two being whitetip reef shark and grey reef shark. It is a warm-water fish and often swims off bays in shallow water. Blacktip reef sharks are present along coastal tropical waters of Indo-West Pacific Ocean. They are also known to swim around many islands like the Solomon Islands, the Society Islands, the Marshall Islands, Andaman Islands, Maldive Islands and the Hawaiian Islands (IUCN RedList).

Blacktip reef sharks readily feed on small teleost fishes like smelt-whiting, wrasses, jacks, mullet and mojarras. But they are also found to eat other animals like squid, shrimp, carrion, octopus, seabirds, crabs, lobsters, cuttlefish and surgeonfish. Occasionally, they also eat other items like coral, turtle grass and algae.

It swims very fast and appears to be a timid fish, therefore, harmless to humans.

Since blacktip reef sharks are smaller in size, they often become prey to larger species. Thus, species like tiger sharks and grey reef sharks are predators of blacktip reef sharks.

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