Black Tip Reef Sharks at Modessa Island Resort
Black Tip Reef Sharks can be seen in the waters around Modessa Island Resort in PALAWAN.
The Black Tip Reef Shark, Carcharhinus Melanopterus, is easily identified by the Black Tips on it’s Dorsal and elagant upwards sweeping Caudial, tail fin. The body being of a brownish grey colour with white under belly and defined lighter stripe along its side.
Previously, you could consider yourself lucky to see one during your stay here where as now it’s not uncommon to see as many as 10 or more juveniles cruising the shallow sandy bottom close to the shore.
Black Tip Reef Shark will remain in the same area, proximity, from birth and prefer shallow tropical and subtropical reefs. Juveniles will stay in water as shallow as 30 cm and tend to stay together and hunt in groups, safety in numbers, being very timid and wary of larger predators especially humans.
Feeding on sardines, groupers, rays, cephalopods, crustaceans and smaller fish, they occasionally lunge out of the water rotating several times before falling flat back on the surface making a great splash. This is seen to be a hunting technique they use to attack smaller prey that swim close to the surface, by attacking from underneath creating a shock wave, giving the shark an element of surprise!
Black Tip Reef Sharks reach maturity at the age of 7 yrs for females and 4 yrs for males, growing to the size of 1.6 – 2 meters, and living to the age of 13 yrs or perhaps longer. Females give birth to a litter of 4 – 10 pups biannually from maturity, until the latter stages of her lifecycle. It is known that female Black Tip Reef Sharks are parthenogenesis, being able to fertilize her own egg – impregnating herself, when no male is available. This is also possible amongst some other types of shark / fish species.
Black Tip Reef Sharks are not known to attack humans, they will mostly avoid larger predators and humans and are extremely wary of their presence in the water. The best chance to get close enough to a Black Tip Reef shark to observe it is if you remain calm and swim slowly whilst minimizing your body, arms and fins, movement. Then, if your lucky, it may stick around for a short time perhaps a few seconds while you take a picture! We see them quite often when we Night Dive at the House Reef in front of Tarvis Dive Center