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The blacktip shark has a robust, streamlined body with a long, pointed snout and relatively small eyes. The five pairs of gill slits are longer than those of similar requiem shark species. The jaws contain 15 tooth rows on either side, with two symphysial teeth (at the jaw midline) in the upper jaw and one symphysial tooth in the lower jaw. The teeth are broad-based with a high, narrow cusp and serrated edges. The first dorsal fin is tall and falcate (sickle-shaped) with a short free rear tip no ridge runs between the first and second dorsal fins. The large pectoral fins are falcate and pointed. The coloration is gray to brown above and white below, with a conspicuous white stripe running along the sides. The pectoral fins, second dorsal fin, and the lower lobe of the caudal fin usually have black tips. The pelvic fins and rarely the anal fin may also be black-tipped. The first dorsal fin and the upper lobe of the caudal fin typically have black edges. Some larger individuals have unmarked or nearly unmarked fins. Blacktip sharks can temporarily lose almost all their colors during blooms, or "whitings", of coccolithophores. This species attains a maximum known length of 2.8 m (9.2 ft), though 1.5 m (4.9 ft) is more typical, and a maximum known weight of 123 kg (271 lb).
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