The blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) is a sleek grey/blue on the dorsal side and contrasting white below, a white band across their flank, with black markings on the tips of its fins. They do not have black markings on their pelvic fins. They usually get no bigger than 1.5 m (about 5 ft).
According to genetic analyses, there is a variation in the black tip shark—a population in the western Atlantic Ocean has been confirmed isolated from the rest in the surrounding area. They’re quite cosmopolitan, seen in shallow, tropical areas as well as offshore. Blacktip sharks are aggressive when hungry, known to swim in the surf off the beaches looking for schooling fish. There are documented bites on humans, however none are fatal. They feed mainly on schooling fish, yet are known to occasionally dine on other sharks.
Like other requiem sharks, blacktip sharks are also viviparous, giving birth to around 1-10 pups every other year, gestation lasting 10-12 months. Males reach sexual maturity between 1.3 - 1.8 m (4.4-5.9 ft). Females reach maturity at a smaller size, 1.2 - 2 m (3.9-6.3 ft). Females give birth in estuarine nurseries, where these pups will stay for the first bit of their lives.
When there are no men for reproductive measures, blacktip females know they’re a hot side dish that doesn’t need no man. No, really, they don’t. They can asexually reproduce. Not the most favorable way of going about things, but it gets the job done when a girl’s in a pinch.
They are targeted by commercial fisheries, longline fisheries and recreational fisheries. Commercial fisheries regularly capture these sharks in shrimp trawls, and their fins and meat are sold in many markets. Apparently, the hides have been sold and used as leather- the latest fashion craze, huh? As for recreational fishing, sport fishers love catching these animals due to putting up a great fight and having the unique ability to spin out of the air. This ability allows for them to vertically attack schooling fish, catching fish as they rush through the school, ultimately landing them outside of the water.
Due to this spinning ability, blacktips get easily confused with spinner sharks. Meaning, if you confuse the blacktip shark with the blacktip reef shark shark, you might confuse it for the spinner shark as well.
Spinner sharks have a black mark on the dorsal surface of their pectoral fins, and anal fins. Both sharks are common “Caribbean” sharks, although blacktips are usually found closer to shore.
Blacktip sharks have been assessed as Near Threatened (NT) by the IUCN, on the basis of their low reproductive rate and possible overfishing threats.
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