Carcharhinus limbatus

Common blacktip shark CCL
Characteristic features:

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.


Circumglobal in all tropical and warm temperate waters.


Essentially pelagic over continental and insular shelves; occasionally well offshore but rarely in depths greater than 30 m.


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 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).

Carcharhinus tilstoni
Australian blacktip shark

Carcharhinus tilstoni

Carcharhinus tilstoni differs in having ventral pelvic fins plain or with dusky tips (vs. ventral pelvic fins with distinct black tips) and less vertebrae, with >91 precaudal centra (vs. <92).

Carcharhinus melanopterus
Blacktip reef shark

Carcharhinus melanopterus

Carcharhinus melanopterus differs in having snout short and bluntly rounded (vs. long and pointed); posterior margin of caudal fin with a distinct, narrow black edge (vs. posterior margin of caudal fin without black edge, although caudal-fin tips black in juveniles) and first dorsal fin with a broad black blotch at its apex, highlighted below with white (vs. if black tipped, indistinct).

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