The Black tipped shark (Carcharhinus limbatus), is a large shark, native to the continental and insular shelves of tropical and warm temperate seas around the world including the Galapagos Islands. The black tipped shark is a large, fairly stout shark that is grey in colour and normally has black-tipped fins, hence the name. The black tipped shark has a long, narrow, pointed snout, long gill slits, a large first dorsal fin and fairly large second dorsal.
Like its close relative the spinner shark, the black tipped shark is a fast swimming shark. The black tipped shark is capable not only of breaching (leaping out of the water) but also of rotating (spinning) several times before re-entering the water.The black tipped shark is non-aggressive and would be unlikely to attack humans without being provoked.
Black tipped sharks feed mainly on a wide range of bony fish including sardines, herring, mullet, jacks and Spanish mackerel, among others. They also feed upon the young of other sharks including dusky sharks and some cephalopods (mollusks) and crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs, shrimp, crayfish and barnacles.
The gestation period is believed to be 10 to 12 months and females are thought to breed every other year. The black tipped shark is viviparous (embryo develops inside the body of the mother, as opposed to outside in an egg) and has a yolk-sac placenta with 1 – 10 pups per litter.
The Black Tipped sharks conservation status is classed as ‘vulnerable’.
The Black Tipped shark is not to be confused with blacktip reef shark.