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Blacktip Shark illustration

Blacktip Shark

World Record ~ 270 Lbs 9 oz caught off Kenya in 1995

Scientific name ~ Carcharhinus Limbatus

Other names ~ Blacktip Whaler, Common Blacktip, Small Black tip, Blackfin

Identification ~ Blacktip sharks are stout bodied with a moderately long and pointed snout. The blacktip shark is dark gray/blue 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 very apparent, though they tend to fade with age.

Size ~ The Blacktip Shark can reach a length of  8 feet. Average adult size is around 5 feet, weighing about 40 lbs. Male Blacktip's mature at 4-5 years , and females 6-7 years. The maximum age of a Blacktip is thought to be at least 12 years.

Habitat ~ The Blacktip Shark inhabits inshore and offshore waters, but is not a truly pelagic species. They are often seen near shore 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 drop-offs, but primarily stay in the upper 100 feet of  water.

A wide ranging species, the Blacktip shark is found 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.

Feeding Habits ~ The Blacktip Shark primarily feeds on small schooling fishes such as herring, sardines, menhaden, mullet, and anchovies. Crustaceans and squids are also occasionally taken. Blacktips are known to breach out of the water while feeding, sometimes spinning up to three or four times around their axis. This behavior is thought to facilitate the sharks' predatory success while feeding on schools of fish near the surface. The sharks vertically attack the school at high speed, snapping at the fish as they pass through it. The momentum then carries them through the ocean's surface. This action makes them exciting gamefish.    

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