Common blacktip sharkCCL

Carcharhinus limbatus

Carcharhinus limbatus ventral head
Carcharhinus limbatus upper and lower teeth

Characteristic features:

  • Dorsal and caudal fins with black tips (less evident in adults)
  • Interdorsal ridge absent
  • Snout moderately long and pointed; internarial space 1.2–1.4 times preoral snouth length
  • First dorsal fin relatively high, its height 2.2 times of less in distances between dorsal fins
  • Upper labial furrows short, barely noticable
  • Ventral surface of pelvic fins with distinct black tips


Dorsal surfaces bronze, fading to grey after death; a faint white stripe on each side. Fins sometimes plain of dusky in large individuals. Juveniles with black tipped fins (anal and pelvic sometimes plain). Ventral surfaces almost white.


Maximum size up to 250 cm TL; birth size 55–72 cm TL.


Cosmopolitan in tropical and warm temperate seas.


Pelagic over continental and coastal shelves, mostly common inshore but sometimes well offshore. Usually found from the surface to 30 meters depth.


Diet consists of bony fish, sharks, rays, cephalopods and crustaceans. Has been observed to occasionally leap out of the water while feeding on small fish. Sometimes forms large aggregations and is often segregated by age and sex. Length at maturity is at 165–180 and 180–190 cm TL for females and males respectively. Age at maturity is around 6–7 years and 5–6 years for females and males respectively in Papua New Guinea. Reproductive mode is viviparous with yolk-sac placenta with a gestation period lasting between 10–12 months. Females give birth every second year to between 1–10 (usually 4–7) pups. Females move inshore to give birth in nursery grounds. Attains a maximum age of at least 12 years in Papua New Guinea.

Indonesian fisheries:

Commonly caught by shark and tuna longline, and inshore gillnet fisheries. Utilised for its fins (high value in adults), meat, skin and cartilage.

Similar species:

Carcharhinus tilstoni
Australian blacktip
Carcharhinus tilstoni
Carcharhinus tilstoni differs in having less vertebrae, with >91 precaudal centra (vs. <92) and ventral pelvic fins plain or with dusky tips (vs. ventral pelvic fins with distinct black tips).
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchoides
Graceful shark
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchoides
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchoides differs in being more robust (vs. slender) and having a shorter snout (vs. longer).
Carcharhinus brevipinna
Spinner shark
Carcharhinus brevipinna
Carcharhinus brevipinna differs in having a slightly longer snout and labial furrows long and prominent (vs. shorter snout with very short labial furrows) and a relatively low first dorsal fin (vs. tall).

External links:

The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM