- Dorsal and caudal fin with black tips in adults (plain in juveniles)
- Interdorsal ridge absent
- Snout long and pointed; internarial space 1–1.2 times preoral snout length
- First dorsal fin low, its hight >2.2 times in distance between dorsal fins
- Upper labial furrows relatively long and distinct
- Upper and lower teeth similar, nearly symmetrical, with very narrow, erect cusps
Dorsal surfaces bronze to greyish, fading to grey after death. Fins plain at birth, with distinct black tips becoming more distinct with increasing size. Ventral surfaces almost white.
Maximum size up to 300 cm TL; birth size 60–81 cm TL.
Widespread in the Atlantic Ocean and Indo-west Pacific, from south eastern Africa to New Caledonia and northward to Japan. Found from the surface to at least 75 meters depth.
Feeds primarily on small bony fish, and also rays and cephalopods. A very active schooling shark, highly migratory in some parts of its range (e.g. Gulf of Mexico). Its common name comes from its ability to frequently spin out of the water during a feeding run through a school of small fish. Length at maturity is 190–200 cm TL for both sexes. Age at maturity is around 8–10 years for both sexes. Reproductive mode is viviparous with yolk-sac placenta. Females give birth to 3–15 pups after a 10–12 month gestation period, and have a 2 year reproductive cycle.
Commonly caught by shark and tuna longliners, with juveniles a very abundant component of inshore gillnet fisheries. Utilised for its fins, meat, skin and cartilage.
Common blacktip shark
Australian blacktip shark
Juveniles can be mistaken for Carcharhinus macloti which is similar in having a long snout, but differs in having a second dorsal-fin origin level with anal-fin origin (vs. second dorsal-fin origin level with midbase of anal fin).