Blacktip Reef Shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus (Quoy & Gaimard 1824)

Other Names: Black Tip Shark, Black-tip Reef Shark, Blacktip Shark, Black-tip Shark, Guliman

A Blacktip Reef Shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus, in Palau. Source: Klaus Stiefel / Flickr: pacificklaus. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial


A small reef shark commonly found in shallow inshore waters where it is frequently encountered by humans. Although not usually dangerous, Blacktip Reef Sharks may attack the legs or feet of people wading in shallow water, especially if cornered.

Differs from other sharks with black fin tips in having a white margin around the black areas. this is especially on the first dorsal fin. Body yellowish-brown, whitish below with a dark stripe fro below the first dorsal fin to above the pelvic fin.

Video of Blacktips Reef Sharks mating in the Raja Ampat Islands.

Blacktip Reef Sharks feeding at Mirihi in the Maldives

Lots of Juvenile Blacktip Reef Sharks at Aow Leuk, Koh Tao, Thailand

Blacktip Reef Sharks at Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Carcharhinus melanopterus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2024,

Blacktip Reef Shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus (Quoy & Gaimard 1824)

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Shark Bay, Western Australia, to Moreton Bay, Queensland, and reefs in the Coral Sea; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.
The Blacktip Reef Shark is one of the most abundant reef-associated sharks on many shallow reefs of the Indo-Pacific.


Carnivore - typically feeds on small fishes, molluscs and crustaceans (Frisch et al. 2016).


Although taken regularly in some areas, the Black Tip Reef Shark is not targeted in major fisheries and is of little commercial importance. 


IUCN Red List : Near Threatened

Species Citation

Carcharias melanopterus Quoy & Gaimard, 1824, Voyage Uranie Physicienne: 194, pl. 43, figs 1-2. Type locality: Pulau Waigeo, Papua Barat, Indonesia (as Vaigiou).


Dianne J. Bray


Australian Faunal Directory

Blacktip Reef Shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus (Quoy & Gaimard 1824)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37018036

Conservation:IUCN Near Threatened

Danger:Possibly dangerous if cornered

Depth:0-75 m (usually above 40 m)

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:1.8 m; 12.6 kg

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map