Not just Shark
Pictures: Elasmodiver contains photos of sharks, skates, rays, and
chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web
based shark field guide to help divers find the best places to
encounter the different species of sharks and rays that live in
shallow water but it has slowly evolved into a much larger project
containing information on all aspects of shark diving and shark
There are now
more than 5000 shark pictures and sections on shark evolution,
biology, and conservation. There is a large library of reviewed
shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a monster
list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are numerous
articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is now so
difficult to check for updates, that new information and pictures
are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be accessed here:
Blacktip reef shark, Indo-Pacific blacktip shark, blacktip
Name: Carcharhinus melanopterus
Well defined black tips on
all fins. Dorsal fin tip black/white demarcation line extremely distinct and
unique.Dorsal coloration grey/tan. Ventrum white. Snout short and bluntly
Maximum length 2m. Size at birth 45-75cm.
Very shallow coral reef flats and slopes. Occasionally on deeper
reefs and in brackish water.
Distribution: Indo-west Pacific Red Sea to southern
East Africa including Madagascar. Present along much of the shallow coastline of
the Indian Ocean and throughout South East Asia from Southern Japan to northern
Australia. Abundant in many South Pacific Island chains including much of French
Polynesia. Also present in the Mediterranean (via the Suez Canal).
Swims constantly either alone or in small groups. Does not school.
Viviparous. Litter number 2-4.
Near Threatened. According to the IUCN, the
Blacktip Reef Shark is not a target of major fisheries, but is regularly caught
by inshore fisheries in India and Thailand (Compagno 1984b). It is rarely taken
by northern Australian gillnet fisheries because of its shallow habitat (Last
and Stevens 1994). Although this species is used fresh and dry salted for human
consumption and for its liver-oil (Last and Stevens 1994) it is considered to be
of little commercial importance (Lyle 1987). Data concerning the take of this
species in artisanal fisheries is scarce, but due to its inshore, shallow water
habitat it is likely to be a target of such activities. However, it is common in
tropical and subtropical waters and not, therefore, considered to be in any
immediate danger of serious population depletion worldwide.
Fakarava, French Polynesia.
Similar species:The grey reef shark, Galapagos shark and a number of other rarely seen carcharhinids share its indo Pacific range
but the blacktip reef shark's clearly defined fin tips make it vitually
impossible to misidentify.
Reaction to divers:
Blacktip reef sharks may make close passes out of curiosity but they generally keep their distance
unless food is introduced.
There are hundreds of locations where blacktip reef sharks can be encountered by
divers. One of the easiest locations to get close to them is at a site called
the Swimming Pool near Tumakohua Pass on Fakarava, French Polynesia. The sharks
can be encountered at close quarters in between dives just by slapping the
surface of the sea with an open palm.
Also at this location, upwards of 500 sharks can be seen during a drift through
the pass. Other species that you are likely to encounter on the same dive
include silvertip sharks, blacktips, and reef whitetips.
There are a handful of dive shops on Fakarava that dive the pass.