Sunday, October 30, 2011

Life of Blacktip Shark

Life of Sea | Blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) | Blacktip shark is a kind of requiem shark, family Carcharhinidae. It is common to the coastal tropical and subtropical waters around the world, including brackish habitats. Blacktip sharks can be found in both inshore and offshore waters, but they tend to be close to the coast at a depth of 30m or less. They are often seen near estuaries, bays, and mangroves, but did not penetrate far into freshwater bull sharks. The Blacktip shark has a worldwide distribution in tropical and subtropical waters. In the Atlantic Ocean, is found from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea and the Mediterranean, Madeira and the Canary Islands to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Chondrichthyes
Subclass:     Elasmobranchii
Order:     Carcharhiniformes
Family:     Carcharhinidae
Genus:     Carcharhinus
Species:     C. limbatus

Blacktip sharks are robust shark with a moderately long, pointed snout. Their first dorsal fin is slightly posterior (back) of their pectoral fins high on the belly of their back with a narrow, pointed tip. This species has not interdorsal ridge. They are dark gray or blue to brown on their dorsal (upper) sides with white belly (bottom) sides and a white band across their flanks. Their pectoral fins, first and second dorsal fins, pelvic fins, and lower caudal (tail) lobes are black tipped, although the dark color tends to fade with age. Their anal fins have no black tips, unlike the similar spinner sharks, which often develops black tips on their anal fins as they mature.

Blacktip sharks feed on small schooling fish such as herring, sardines, menhaden, mullet, and anchovies, but also eat catfish, bass, jacks, snook, porgies, grunts, pill, flatfish, triggerfish, and porcupine fish. They are known to feed on other elasmobranch species such as dogfish, Sharp Nose sharks, dark young sharks, rays and stingrays. Shellfish and squid are also prey for Blacktip sharks. Like spinner sharks are Blacktip sharks seen jumping and spinning out of the water, which is probably one eating. Black Tips schools attack from below at high speed, while snapping their jaws to capture prey. Tiger sharks are known predators of juvenile Blacktip shark.

The Blacktip shark is an extremely fast, energetic predator usually in groups of different sizes. There is segregation by sex and age, adult men and nonpregnant women with the exception of pregnant women found, and both are separated from young people. Like the spinner shark, blacktip shark is known to jump out of the water and three to four spins on its axis before landing. Some of these jumps are the end product of feeding runs, with the shark vertical corkscrews through schools of small fishes and its momentum to launch into the air.

There are reports of Blacktip sharks curiosity about divers, but remain at a safe distance. In most cases, this timid shark is not considered very dangerous to humans. However, they can become aggressive in the presence of food, and their size and speed to invite respect. As one of the most common large sharks in coastal waters, blacktip shark is caught in large numbers by commercial fisheries worldwide, with longlines, fixed bottom nets, bottom trawls, and hook and line. The meat is high quality and marketed fresh, frozen or dried and salted. In addition, the fins for shark fin soup, skin for leather, liver oil for vitamins, and carcasses for fishmeal.

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