Carcharhinus melanopterus ( Quoy & Gaimard, 1824 )

Ebert, David A., Wintner, Sabine P. & Kyne, Peter M., 2021, An annotated checklist of the chondrichthyans of South Africa, Zootaxa 4947 (1), pp. 1-127 : 64-65

publication ID 10.11646/zootaxa.4947.1.1

publication LSID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Carcharhinus melanopterus ( Quoy & Gaimard, 1824 )


Carcharhinus melanopterus ( Quoy & Gaimard, 1824) View in CoL View at ENA

Blacktip Reef Shark

Carcharias melanopterus Quoy & Gaimard, 1824: 194 View in CoL , pl. 43 (figs. 1, 2). Lectotype: MNHN 0000-1129; lectotype designation by Eschmeyer (1998). Type locality: Pulau Waigeo, West Papua, Indonesia.

Local synonymy: The synonymy for this species in South African waters is long and convoluted, and most of the “black-tipped” sharks are of other Carcharhinus View in CoL species. A discussion of the issue is presented below in the Remarks section.

South Africa voucher material: None.

South African distribution: Possibly northern KZN, but unconfirmed in South African waters .

Remarks: Carcharhinus melanopterus has a checkered history of uncertainty as to whether it occurs in South African waters. The first record of this species was based on a specimen provided by Andrew Smith to the [British] Natural History Museum (probably around 1839) with the exact locality uncertain since the only information given was labelled “Cape Seas”. Subsequent authors listed it as occurring in South African waters, but the name “black-tipped” shark is used indiscriminately for several species of black or dusky fin tipped sharks. References to this species occurring in KZN or Cape waters can usually be traced back to either Gray (1851) or G̹nther (1870) who both cited Andrew Smith’s specimen at the Natural History Museum ( Bass et al., 1973). According to Bass et al. (1973), Andrew Smith’s specimen was still in existence and they were able to confirm its identification. However, Bass et al. (1973) commented that there were no records of this species from East Africa south of 22°S. The species does occur in southern Mozambique and it would not be unexpected if it ranged into the northern most area of KZN, but we could not verify any confirmed records or sightings of this species in South African waters. We include this species here since it has been widely listed as occurring in KZN with the hope that if it does occur here it will be confirmed.

Conservation status: VU (2020).














Carcharhinus melanopterus ( Quoy & Gaimard, 1824 )

Ebert, David A., Wintner, Sabine P. & Kyne, Peter M. 2021

Carcharias melanopterus

Quoy, J. R. C. & Gaimard, J. P. 1824: 194
GBIF Dataset (for parent article) Darwin Core Archive (for parent article) View in SIBiLS Plain XML RDF