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Diving with Requiem Sharks

Koh Lanta Marine Life | Carcharhinidae
Thick-arm JellyfishZebra Sharks

Requiem Sharks are migratory, live-bearing sharks of warm seas (sometimes of brackish or fresh water) and include the Blacktip Reef Shark which is found while diving around Koh Lanta at both the Bida Islands and Koh Haa.

There are 54 species in the family Carcharhinidae, classified in 12 genera. The waters around Koh Lanta home to several of these critically endangered species.

In addition to the commonly encountered Blacktip Reef Shark, other species of Requiem Shark known to inhabit the area, but rarely seen, are the Nurse Shark, Grey Reef Shark, Bull Shark and Grey Bamboo Shark.

Requiem sharks have torpedo-like bodies, making them fast and agile hunters. They have a range of prey including bony fish, squid, octopus, lobster, turtles, marine mammals, seabirds, and other sharks and rays.

Often considered the 'rubbish bins' of the sea, they will eat almost anything, including plastic trash.

Requiem sharks are typically in the 1 - 3 m range, though some species can grow up to 7 m in length.

1 species found on this page.

Blacktip Reef Shark

(Carcharhinus melanopterus)

The Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) is easily identified by the prominent black tips on its fins (especially on the first dorsal fin and its tail fin). The black tips are highlighted by lighter-colored borders, which are especially noticeable on the first dorsal fin and lower tail fin.

The Blacktip Reef Shark has a short, wide, rounded snout and slightly large, oval eyes and saw-like teeth. Its white belly and dark back allow it to camouflage with the darker seafloor and the brighter ocean surface.

Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus)

Carcharhinus melanopterus @ Koh Bida

The Blacktip Reef Shark prefers swimming in shallow waters just a few meters deep, and most Blacktip Reef Sharks are found over reef ledges and sandy flats. Blacktip Reef Sharks have extremely small home ranges and exhibit strong site attachment, remaining within the same local area for up to several years at a time.

Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus)

Blacktip Reef Shark @ Koh Bida

Blacktip Reef Sharks are active predators of small bony fishes, including Mullet, Groupers, Jacks, Wrasses, Surgeonfish, etc. Their diet also includes Cephalopods such as squid, octopus and cuttlefish, and crustaceans such as Mantis Shrimp. Blacktip Reef Sharks have sometimes been observed hunting cooperatively by 'herding' small schools of fish.

Females give birth to two to five young, and newborn sharks are usually found in shallower water than adults, possibly roaming in large groups, to avoid being eaten by groupers and other sharks.

Blacktip Reef Sharks reach maturity at an average age of about 4 years old for males and 7 years old for females and can live to 13 years of age, sometimes longer. These sharks may typically reach 1.5 - 1.6 m, though on rare occasions, individuals may reach up to 1.8 m. Blacktip Reef Sharks show high capacity for wound healing and recovery following injury.

Timid and skittish, the Blacktip Reef Shark is difficult to approach and seldom poses a danger to humans unless roused by food. People wading through shallow water are however at risk of having their legs bitten by mistake, though this does not usually result in serious injury.

Interestingly, the Blacktip Reef Shark can fully jump out of the water, one of the few sharks that can display this behaviour.

Koh Lanta Diving with Requiem Sharks

If you'd love a chance to spot Requiem Sharks on one of our daily Koh Lanta diving trips then send us an email to info@diveandrelax.com.

Join our high season speedboat dive trips to some of Thailand's best dive sites and enjoy small groups, short journey times, and a focus on great personal service, safety and fun.

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