Blacktip Reef Shark

(Carcharhinus melanopterus)

  • Animal Type

    Sharks and Rays

  • Exhibits

    Blacktip Reef

  • Range

    Indian Ocean

    Pacific Ocean


Blacktip reef sharks are named for the characteristic black tips or margins on their fins. They have a short, round snout and angled, saw-like teeth. Their coloring provides camouflage from above or below; a dark back helps them blend in with the dim seafloor and a white belly blends in with the brighter ocean surface. Blacktip reef sharks swim in shallow waters just a few meters deep near reefs and drop-off zones. They have also occasionally been sighted in brackish water. These sharks are often found in small groups or aggregations.

A Note From the Caretaker

One of the unique characteristics of blacktip reef sharks is their camaraderie and the way they swim in schools.

Quick Facts

Learn more about blacktip reef sharks! Did you know that these sharks sometimes jump fully out of the water during feeding frenzies?

Blacktip reef sharks are commonly found along the coastlines of Pacific regions, such as Thailand, Japan, Philippines, New Caledonia and northern Australia. They are also found in the Indian Ocean from South Africa to the Red Sea.

Blacktip reef sharks primarily feed on reef fish but sometimes eat crustaceans, cephalopods and mollusks.

These sharks can grow up to 6 feet long.

These sharks are not currently endangered, but the species is experiencing population loss due to overfishing.

Blacktip reef sharks are often caught by commercial fisheries for their meat, liver oil and fins.

Online Gift Shop Jaw-some Apparel

Our online shop has the perfect gift for the shark-lover in your life. Our original designs feature the iconic blacktip reef shark, sandbar sharks and more. Sales from the gift shop support the Aquarium's conservation and animal welfare efforts.

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