The Australian blacktip shark is a requiem shark found in Australia. It is incredibly similar in appearance to the common black tip, with only experts able to tell the two apart by counting the number of vertebrae.
Australian Blacktip Shark Scientific Classification
|Scientific Name||C. tilstoni|
On average, an Australian blacktip shark reaches 4.9–5.9 ft in length, with the longest specimen ever recorded being 6.6 ft tall. This shark has a spindle-shaped body, with a pointed snout and circular eyes. Inside the shark’s mouth, one can observe 32-35 rows of slender, serrated teeth in the upper jaw and 29–31 rows of narrow teeth in the lower jaw.
The pectoral and first dorsal fins are falcate, while the second dorsal fin is only moderately tall. The caudal fin is asymmetrical, with the upper lobe larger than the lower one.
It is bronze from above and white from below with a white stripe running through its body, though it takes on a grey pallor after death.
Where do they live
Map Of The Australian Blacktip Shark’s Habitat
As the name indicates, this shark is spotted in Australian waters ranging from Thevenard Island in Western Australia to the coasts of Sydney in New South Wales.
Commonly spotted from the intertidal zone to a depth of 490 ft, there have been records of larger specimens appearing at even greater depths.
These sharks primarily feed on teleost fish like grunters, herring, ponyfishes, and tuna. They will also consume cephalopods and small sharks like sharpnose, snaggletooth, and spottail sharks.
Juveniles and smaller sharks feed more on fish found closer to the ocean floor, while older sharks have a diet consisting of cephalopods and midwater fish.
While these sharks generally travel short distances along the coastline, some tagged individuals will travel up to 838 miles offshore.
Similar to other requiem sharks, the Australian blacktip gives live birth to a litter of 1-6 pups. After mating between February and March, the females will collect the sperm and implant it while ovulating in March-April. The pups are born after gestating for ten months in January.
Before giving birth, the mothers will move into nurseries with shallow waters like estuaries. Initially, the newborns are large (around 24 inches in length). Sexual maturity is observed in males and females at 3-4 years of age when they are roughly 3.6-3.9 ft long. These sharks live for a maximum of 20 years.
Interactions with humans
Historically fished throughout northern Australia for its meat, the Australian blacktip’s numbers once dropped to as low as 50% in May 1986. Its population has since stabilized, with the IUCN classifying it as “Least Concern” or “LC”, though some risk remains as it is still commonly caught, just not to as great an extent as before.