Blacktip reef shark
The blacktip reef shark, is a shark of tropical and warm seas. One of the most common sharks found in shallow water around coral reefs of Indo-Pacific and Caribbean waters. The water they swim in is usually 70-80 degrees . Blacktip reef sharks do not venture into tropical lakes and rivers far from the ocean.
Like its name, the tips of the shark's fins are black, with a white underside. Their skin is brownish in color on the top-half of their bodies. It has been recorded at up to 190 cm in length. Its snout is blunt and rounded. The gray reef sharks looks similar, and is also common, but is distinguished by its stockier and gray body and its lack of black tip on the fin. Blacktip reef sharks are not considered a real threat because they are usually small.
Before giving birth, female blacktip reef sharks will incubate their young for 16 months. The shark's size at birth ranges from 33–52 cm.
This species is not considered social, but can been seen in small groups. While generally shy, they often are curious about snorkelers and scuba divers. As with most sharks, the body is bent into a sort of "S" shape when the shark feels threatened. Blacktip reef sharks are harmless unless provoked. Incidents generally involve hand feeding or spear fishing, possibly in combination with low visibility.
The blacktip is one of only a few sharks that can jump fully out of the water. They have also been observed surfacing to look around (spy-hopping).
Blacktip reef sharks are often the by catch from other fisheries and are often wasted. The blacktip populations are declining, and so are the population of many other shark species. Their fins are used for "Shark fin soup" - when caught the shark's fin is cut off and the shark is thrown back into the water to die. This is done by the thousands, which may be a big factor in why the population is declining. The numbers of blacktip reef sharks have declined in recent years.
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