The blacktip shark is widespread in all tropical and subtropical continental waters. Blacktip sharks are common tropical, warm-temperate, inshore and offshore sharks Stafford-Deitsch, They are often found on or near the continental and insular shelves. Blacktips are also commonly found close to the shore, in estuaries as well as river mouths Stafford-Deitsch, They are also found in shallow muddy bays, mangrove swamps of high salinity, lagoons, coral reef dropoffs and in areas found far offshore Compagno,
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This medium sized, stocky shark is dark grey to brown on top transitioning to white underneath. It has characteristically marked black-tipped fins. Blacktip sharks prefer to hunt small schooling fishes, taking out prey as they move quickly through the school, often breaching the water at the surface. They are generally timid, but because they forage in shallower waters less than ft , are frequently encountered by humans.
The blacktip shark gets its name from its distinctive black markings on the tips of its fins. The blacktip shark is targeted in a number of commercial fisheries, including the longline fishery off the southeast coast of the U. It is also regularly captured in fixed bottom nets and in shrimp trawls.
The meat is used for fish meal or sold in local markets for human consumption. The fins are sold to Asian markets and the hides are used for leather Burgess and Branstetter Blacktip sharks are sometimes caught by sport fishermen off Florida, the Caribbean islands, and South Africa. They are reported to give a good fight, often leaping out of the water. Records from The International Shark Attack File ISAF show that blacktip sharks have historically been responsible for 29 unprovoked attacks on humans around the world.
Only one of these was fatal. Most incidents result in relatively minor wounds. The blacktip shark is currently managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service as a large coastal species in the Atlantic shark fishery. Catch rates have fluctuated over recent years, but reached a peak in commercial landings in in the U. The majority of the catch is comprised of adults above the minimum reproductive size, indicating that this species is currently being managed in a sustainable fashion.
The IUCN is a global union of states, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations in a partnership that assesses the conservation status of species. Blacktip sharks are cosmopolitan in tropical to subtropical coastal, shelf, and island waters. In the Atlantic during their seasonal migration they range from Massachusetts to Brazil, but their center of abundance is in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
They occur throughout the Mediterranean and along the coast of West Africa. 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 estuaries, though they do not penetrate far into freshwater. They can be found offshore and over deep water near coral reef dropoffs, but primarily stay in the upper feet 30 m of the water column Compagno et al.
The first dorsal fin originates slightly over or behind insertion point of pectoral fins along inner margin. Distinctive Features Blacktip sharks are stout-bodied with a moderately long and pointed snout. They lack an interdorsal ridge. The first dorsal fin, positioned slightly posterior to the pectoral fin insertion, is high with a narrowly pointed apex. The pectoral fins are fairly large and pointed Compagno and Fowler Coloration The blacktip shark is dark gray to brown above, and white below with a distinct white band across the flank.
The black tips found on the pectoral fins, first and second dorsals, pelvic fins, and lower caudal lobe are conspicuous, though they tend to fade with age. The blacktip does not usually have black tips on the anal fin Compagno et al. The similar-looking spinner shark Carcharhinus brevipinna usually develop a black tip on its anal fin several months after birth. Dentition The upper and lower jaw teeth of blacktip sharks are quite similar in shape, being moderately long, erect, and narrowly pointed with a broad base.
The upper jaw teeth are more coarsely serrated along the cusp and crown than are the lower teeth which have fine serrations and tend to curve inwards. The teeth count is in the upper jaw and in the lower jaw. Size, Age, and Growth The maximum length of the blacktip shark is about 8 feet cm. Size at birth is inches cm. Average adult size is around 4.
Age at maturity is years for males, and years for females. The maximum age found has been 10 years Burgess and Branstetter In waters off the southeastern U. Blacktip sharks primarily feed on small schooling fishes such as herring, sardines, menhaden, mullet, and anchovies, but also eat other bony fishes including catfishes, groupers, jacks, snook, porgies, grunts, croakers, flatfishes, triggerfish, and porcupine fish.
They are also known to consume other elasmobranchs including dogfish, sharpnose sharks, young dusky sharks, skates, and stingrays. Crustaceans and squids are also occasionally taken. Blacktips frequently follow fishing trawlers to eat the bycatch Burgess and Branstetter Blacktips, as well as spinner sharks, can often be seen breaching out of the water while feeding, sometimes spinning up three or four times around their axis before falling back in the water.
Reproduction Blacktip sharks have placental viviparity. Embryos are nourished by a placental connection to the mother via an umbilical cord, analagous to the system seen in placental mammals, but independently derived. Gestation last months. Between pups are born in late spring and early summer Castro Males reach sexual maturity at 4.
Females at 3. Females give birth in inshore estuarine nursery grounds where the young remain for the first years of their lives. Predators Adult blacktip sharks do not have any common natural predators. Like other carcharhinid sharks, however, the young are often at risk of predation by larger sharks. Parasites External parasites found on the body of the blacktip shark include the copepods Pandarus sinuatus and Pandarus smithii.
It has also appeared in the literature as Carcharias Prionodon pleurotaenia , Carcharias microps , Carcharias Prionodon muelleri , Carcharias maculipinna , Carcharias ehrenbergi , Carcharias aethlorus , Gymnorrhinus abbreviatus , Carcharias phorcys , and Carcharhinus natator. Burgess, H. Carcharhinus limbatus. Castro, J. Bulletin of Marine Science: 59 3 pp. Compagno, L. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World. London: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. Morgan, A. Gulf and Caribbean Research: 19 2.
More Info. Discover Fishes Carcharhinus limbatus. Blacktip Shark Carcharhinus limbatus Blacktip shark Carcharhinus limbatus underwater. Order — Carcharhiniformes Family — Carcharhinidae Genus — Carcharhinus Species — limbatus Common Names The blacktip shark gets its name from its distinctive black markings on the tips of its fins.
Importance to Humans Underwater photographer with a blacktip shark. Geographical Distribution World distribution of the blacktip shark.
Habitat The blacktip shark inhabits inshore and offshore waters, but is not a truly pelagic species. Distinguishing Characteristics Blacktip shark Carcharhinus limbatus.
First, second dorsal fins, pectoral fins, and lower lobe of caudal fin black-tipped black markings may fade in adults; may be indistinct in juveniles 2. Anal fin is unmarked 3. First dorsal fin has a short free rear tip 4. The first dorsal fin originates slightly over or behind insertion point of pectoral fins along inner margin 5. The second dorsal fin originates over or slightly in front of the anal fin origin Compagno et al. Blacktip shark jaw showing the dentition. Food Habits Blacktip shark Carcharhinus limbatus underwater.
Blacktip shark pup. References Burgess, H.
Dorsal fins, pectoral fins, and lower lobe of caudal fin have black tips. A pale band extends along its flank from the region of its pectoral fin to its pelvic fin. SIZE Males mature at 5. The largest shark caught was an 8. Teeth of the upper jaw are broad with narrow cusps, and teeth of the lower jaw are narrow.
Their first dorsal fin is slightly posterior back from their pectoral fins and high on the midsection of their backs with a narrow, pointed tip. This species does not have an interdorsal ridge. They are dark gray or blue to brown on their dorsal upper sides with white ventral under sides and a white band across their flanks. Their pectoral fins, first and second dorsal fins, pelvic fins, and lower caudal tail lobe are black tipped, although the dark coloring tends to fade with age. Their anal fins do not have black tips, unlike the similar spinner sharks , which often develops black tips on their anal fins as they mature.
The blacktip shark Carcharhinus limbatus is a species of requiem shark , and part of the family Carcharhinidae. It is common to coastal tropical and subtropical waters around the world, including brackish habitats. Genetic analyses have revealed substantial variation within this species, with populations from the western Atlantic Ocean isolated and distinct from those in the rest of its range. The blacktip shark has a stout, fusiform body with a pointed snout, long gill slits , and no ridge between the dorsal fins. Most individuals have black tips or edges on the pectoral , dorsal, pelvic , and caudal fins. It usually attains a length of 1. Swift, energetic piscivores , blacktip sharks are known to make spinning leaps out of the water while attacking schools of small fish.
Indo-Pacific: Persian Gulf Ref. Short description Morphology Morphometrics Dorsal spines total : 0; Dorsal soft rays total : 0; Anal spines : 0; Anal soft rays : 0. A stout shark with a long, narrow, pointed snout, long gill slits and erect, narrow-cusped upper teeth; first dorsal fin high; no interdorsal ridge Ref. Dark grey, ashy blue or dusky bronze on back, belly white or yellowish white; a dark band extending rearward along each side to about over origin of pelvic fin; tips of pelvic fins with a persistent black spot; tips of dorsal fins, pectoral fins, anal, and lower lobe of caudal fin usually black or dusky in young individuals, fading with growth Ref. Often off river mouths and estuaries, muddy bays, mangrove swamps, lagoons, and coral reef drop-offs Ref.
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