Carcharhinus melanopterus

(Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)

Blacktip reef shark
Classification: Elasmobranchii Carcharhiniformes Carcharhinidae

Reference of the original description
Quoy, J.R.C. & Gaimard, J.P. (1824)
Description des Poissons. Chapître IX. In Freycinet, L. de, Voyage autour du monde, entrepris par ordre du roi. Exécuté sur les corvettes de S.M. l'Uranie et la Physicienne, pendant les années 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820. Paris. Description des Poissons. Description des Poissons. Chapter IX.: 192–401 [1–328 in 1824; 329–616 in 1825], Atlas pls. 43–65

Image of the original description

Carcharias melanopterus Quoy & Gaimard, 1824 valid as Carcharhinus melanopterus (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824), plate 43

Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Carcharhinus aff. melanopterus, Carcharhinus cf. melanopterus, Carcharhinus melanoptera, Carcharhinus melanoptures, Carcharias elegans, Carcharias marianensis, Carcharias melanopterus, Carcharias playfairii, Carcharias (Prionace) melanopterus, Carcharias (Prionodon) melanopterus, Carcharinus melanoptera, Carcharinus melanopterus, Eulamia melanoptera, Eulamia melanopterus, Hypoprion playfairi, Hypoprion playfairii, Squalus carcharias minor, Squalus (Carcharinus) melanopterus

Carcharhinus melanopterus
Lectotype: MNHN: 1129; Paralectotype: MNHN: 3463 MNHN: 1128; MNHN: 771;
Carcharias elegans
XXXX: No types known;
Carcharias marianensis
Holotype: ZSM: (old collection) lost in WW II;
Carcharias playfairii
Holotype: BMNH: 1867.3.9.427
Squalus carcharias minor
XXXX: No types known;

Description :

Citation: Carcharhinus melanopterus (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824): In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 07/2024

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Carcharhinus melanopterus (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824), ERB 1239, male, 102,6 cm TL, Indian Ocean © Frederik H. Mollen (Elasmobranch Research Belgium)
Common names
deu \(T\) Schwarzspitzen-Riffhai, spa Tiburón de puntas negras, fra \(T\) Requin noir, fra \(T\) Requin pointes noires, fra \(T\) Requin à pointes noires, eng Black fin reef shark, eng Black finned shark, eng Black tip reef shark, eng Black tip shark, eng Black tips nilow, eng Black-tip reef shark, eng Blackfin reef shark, eng Blacktip reef shark, eng Blacktip reefshark, eng Blacktip shark, eng Guliman, eng Reef blacktip shark, eng Requien shark, eng Shark, por Fungu, por Marracho tinteiro de coral, por Nyatussue, por Tubarão, por Tubarão negro, por Xituo

Short Description
A small shark with a short, bluntly rounded snout, oval eyes, and narrow-cusped teeth; 2nd dorsal fin large; no interdorsal ridge [536]. Yellow-brown above, white below; all fins conspicuous with black or dark brown tips also anterior and posterior dark edging on pectoral fins and upper lobe of caudal fin; a prominent black tip of first dorsal fin set off abruptly by a light band below it; a conspicuous dark band on flanks, extending rearward to pelvic fins [544].

Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Hawaiian Islands and the Tuamoto Archipelago. Apparently rare or absent in the more easterly groups. Also eastern Mediterranean (through the Suez Canal). Source:

Human uses
fisheries: commercial; aquarium: public aquariums

Viviparous, placental [733]. Litter size 2-4 pups [517] after an 8-9 months gestation period (up to 16 months in some localities) [2539]. Size at birth ranges from 33-52 cm [517]; 48-50 cm TL [2539]. Distinct pairing with embrace [17086]. Precopulatory and courtship involve the male closely following near the female"quot;s vent which could possibly be guided by their sense of smell (Ref. 49562, 47987). Inhabits the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific Region; prefers the shallow water close inshore and in the intertidal zone (reef flats), near reef drop-offs and close offshore [517] [17640]. Also found in mangrove areas, moving in and out with the tide [1388] and even in freshwater, but not in tropical lakes and rivers far from the sea [544]. The young inhabit shallow lagoons [17641]. Feeds on fishes, crustaceans, cephalopods and other mollusks [1388]. May become aggressive to spear fishers and has been reported to bite people wading in shallow water [1388].

Size / Weight / Age
200 cm TL (male/unsexed; [536]); max. published weight: 13.6 kg (Ref. 40637)

reef-associated; amphidromous [17660]; brackish; marine; depth range 20 - 75 m (Ref. 37816)

shark-references Species-ID=789;

Parasites (arranged by Jürgen Pollerspöck)
  • Ceratomyxa carcharhini Gleeson & Adlard, 2011 [13965]
  • Ceratomyxa melanopteri Gleeson & Adlard, 2011 [13965]

  • Huffmanela carcharhini (Maccallum, 1925) [31368]
  • Huffmanela selachii Al-Sabi, Ibrahim,Al-Hizab, Al-Jabr, Al-Shubaythi & Huffman, 2022 [31270]
  • Pulchrascaris chiloscyllii (Johnston & Mawson, 1951) [16939] [17029] [27918]
  • Pulchrascaris sp. [16939]

  • Gnathia trimaculata Coetzee, Smit, Grutter & Davies, 2009 [7418]

  • Pontobdella macrothela (Schimarda, 1861) [28595]