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In today’s oceans, there are more than 500 different species of shark! Remarkably, they can be found in every ocean in the world, even the Arctic Ocean which can reach temperatures of -1.8°C. This resilience to survive in each of the world’s oceans shows how their unique characteristics, evolved over the course of 420 million years, have allowed them to survive in even the harshest conditions.

Here, we can learn a little more about the blacktip reef shark, which you can see right here at Blue Planet Aquarium.

What is a blacktip reef shark?

Blacktip reef sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) belong to the Chondrichthyes class of animals, which includes all cartilaginous fish such as other sharks and rays. As their name suggests, they’re identified by the dark tips on their fins as well as a dark margin on their caudal (tail) fin.

Reaching sizes between 1-2 metres in length, they are relatively large sharks, weighing in at about 18kg on average.

Where do blacktip reef sharks live?

Blacktip reef sharks prefer shallower, coastal waters in the Indo-Pacific region, specifically around Asia and Australasia, including Thailand, Japan and northern Australia. You’re likely to find them amongst the coral reefs and lagoons.

What do blacktip reef sharks eat?

Feeding on a diet mainly consisting of crustaceans, cephalopods (like octopuses and squid) and molluscs, blacktip reef sharks are carnivorous.

Their pointed snout and serrated teeth make light work of unsuspecting prey that gets a little too close.

Extra fun facts about blacktip reef sharks

Let’s dive into some more facts about the blacktip reef shark that set it apart from the rest!

Blacktip reef sharks are social creatures

Blacktip reef sharks are known to be social animals, something that’s quite rare for sharks. They are known to hunt in packs.

They are fast swimmers

Because of their streamlined bodies and light weight, blacktip reef sharks are known to be fast swimmers, reaching speeds of up to 20mph.

They tend to avoid humans

Our usual advice is to leave all wildlife alone, and blacktip reef sharks are no exception since they’re known to actively avoid humans and swim in the other direction. They have also been known to attack if provoked, so be sure to keep your distance if you’re lucky enough to spot one in the wild.

They can leap out of the water

During a feeding frenzy, these athletic animals have been known to jump out of the water, often somersaulting through the air in miraculous gymnastic displays.

Where can you see blacktip reef sharks?

Although blacktip reef sharks call the coasts of Australasia and Asia home, you don’t have to jet off to the other side of the world to see them. Here at Blue Planet Aquarium you can see them at our Ocean Exhibit, where they’re joined by other beautiful animals such as Sand Tiger Sharks, Zebra Sharks, and Brown Banded Sharks, among many others! If you’d like to opportunity to swim alongside them, why not book yourself a shark diving experience to do while you’re at the aquarium!

Don’t forget to book your tickets to the aquarium today and come and see just how many incredible species are here, just waiting for you to discover them.

Type

Shark

What do they eat?

crustaceans, cephalopods (like octopuses and squid) and molluscs

Size

1-2 metres and around 18kg

Water Type

Shallow, tropical waters

Where are we?

Indo-Pacific

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