10 Interesting Facts About Blacktip Reef Sharks

  1. The blacktip reef shark is one of the three species of shark (with whitetip reef shark and grey reef shark) that permanently resides in the Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Compared to the other two sharks that inhabit deep water, the blacktip reef sharks are predominant in the shallow waters of this area.
  2. Blacktip reef sharks can enter brackish and freshwater environments. But this fish can’t remain longer in freshwater due to its inability to tolerate the low salinity of freshwater.
  3. The most common food for blacktip reef sharks is small fish (groupers, mullet, jacks, etc.), crustaceans (shrimp and mantis), and mollusks (squid, octopus, and cuttlefish). But these sharks have also been found eating sea snakes and sea birds through their strong teeth (number around 50).
  4. The hunting of blacktip reef sharks by humans is for their meat, liver oil, and fins. But it is less commercially significant as compared to other species of shark.
  5. Few larger fish also tend to eat small members of blacktip reef sharks. The main predators of this shark are tiger sharks and grey reef sharks. 
    A blacktip reef shark swimming
    Blacktip reefs have one of the smallest home ranges of sharks

  6. Blacktip reef shark has one of the smallest, just over 0.5 km2, home ranges among sharks. They will remain in this small area for years.
  7. Blacktip reef sharks are not dangerous to humans due to their smaller size (average length of just over 5 ft and maximum length of 7 ft). But few unprovoked attacks by this shark on wading humans (on their legs and feet) have been recorded. All these attacks resulted in minor injuries. 
  8. Blacktip reef sharks can easily detect small objects at a distance of 5 ft (1.5 m). But it can’t spot fine details due to the absence of cone cells in its retina.
  9. A female blacktip shark will release a unique chemical and swim in a slow sinusoidal pattern when it is receptive to mating.
  10. According to IUCN, the conservation status of blacktip reef sharks is “Near Threatened”. Slow reproduction of this shark and overfishing at few locations are the reasons for its slightly endangered status.

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