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Blacktip Shark

Carcharhinus limbatus

FAMILY: Carcharhinidae


CONSERVATION STATUS: Vulnerable (worldwide)

RANGE: Worldwide in tropical waters, occasionally venturing into temperate.

LENGTH: 200 cm (approx. 6.5 feet) total length

WEIGHT: 65 kg (143.3 lbs)

Illustration ©Marc Dando

Photograph ©Wix Stock


RANGE: In the Western Atlantic, the species ranges from southern New England to Brazil.  Warming ocean temperatures have resulted in blacktips becoming more frequent summer visitors of Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

HABITAT: Found from the surf to offshore waters 150 m deep in tropical and subtropical seas throughout the world. Frequents a variety of habitats including estuaries, bays, and reef drop- offs. 


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IDENTIFICATION: Moderately large species with snout as long as the width of the mouth. First dorsal fin originates approximately in line with the back of the base of the pectoral fins. Body is a dusky-brown on top with a streak of light grey (same color as the underside) extending on the sides from about the midway down the body towards the anal fin. Tips of the dorsal, pectoral, pelvic, and bottom lobe of the caudal fin have blacktips. Note that sharks of the same species in the pacific may have black-tipped anal fins as well. Atlantic specimens generally do not.

INTERESTING FACTSFeeds primarily on fishes, cephalopods, and crustaceans. Most active at dawn and dusk. Migrates up the east coast of the US in large schools beginning in waters of Florida in mid to late winter. Though known encountered throughout the world, regional populations of blacktips likely represent a species complex (a group of organisms with such similarity that the boundaries between species are unclear).


Vulnerable to extinction. One fish of at least 54 inches fork length (FL) is allowed per vessel per trip. Federal Highly Migratory Species fishing permit required in federal waters.

Citation: IUCN

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