Carcharhinus melanopterus (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)
Blacktip reef shark

Blacktip reef sharks are common on the shallow lagoon and seaward reefs. Small ones can often be seen on the reeftops, where they can come right in to the beach in pursuit of small prey. Larger ones up to about 5 feet, or a bit less than 2 meters, can be seen just off the reef, but still usually in shallow water. They are also often seen on tops of some of the large shallow lagoon pinnacles. They are usually not aggressive, except perhaps in the presence of speared fish. There have been reports, although not at Kwajalein, of waders bitten on the legs by small blacktips in probable cases of mistaken identity. At least one book recommends that if bothered by a small blacktip while wading, lie down in the water, where your size will deter the shark.

Small individuals come in on the shallow reeftop with the rising tide to feed.

Created 1 October 2013
Updated 27 December 2015

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