Blacktip Reef Shark

Blacktip Reef Shark


Oceans of the Indo-Pacific regions




Warm seas

Latin Name

Carcharhinus melanopterus

IUCN conservation status

This large fish is exceptionally adapted to its habitat and diet

An extremely sharp sense of smell and vibratory sensibility make this shark an extraordinary predator

The blacktip reef shark is a quick hunter who eats fish, molluscs and crustaceans. Its ultrasensitive olfactory receptor cells can detect very low concentrations of certain elements released in the water, such as blood. On its flanks, an organ called the “lateral line” detects infinitesimal water movements made by nearby fish.

A body covered with thousands of hard, protruding formations to minimize turbulence

The blacktip reef shark has a powerful caudal fin which handles its propulsion. The shark’s skin, unlike other fish’s, is covered in dermal denticles instead of scales. The denticles are tiny, solid protrusions which, along with its thick skin, protect the shark from external attacks and reduce water turbulence when it swims.

A solitary life of skimming coral reefs

The shark can be found near coasts, on the edge of lagoons and near coral reefs. Though it lives alone, it can tolerate other sharks; abundant food can lead to temporary gatherings of around ten individuals. Male and female sharks also come together to reproduce.

Impacted by overfishing, the shark can become an incidental catch, captured by commercial fishers

For lack of conclusive evidence, the number of blacktip reef sharks in the wild is unknown. The population is still deemed to be in decline as its birth rate is relatively low and threats to its survival are increasing. Sharks also do not have the general population’s sympathy on their side.

Other animals from Oceania