Carcharhinus melanopterus (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)
photos by MCH/Andreas I. Iliopoulos
The specific animal was infected by some kind of bacteria at the right eye region, due to the bad quality of the water of the extremely small tank that the specimen is housed, when I saw it. Although both photos are of very poor quantity and out of focus, so the animal is not shown properly, I use them to explain what someone should avoid when keeping this reef predatory species. I could also suggest avoiding this specific petshop, but any prudent aquarist, even a novice one, can understand that thing by him/herself.
The animals are predators, with large territories at tropical and Mediterranean reefs. They live in relative shallow waters (from 1 m to 30 m usually) up to 75 m of depth. The animals may grow up to 2 m of (TL) length. They swim close to the surface over reefs, sometimes in groups, hunting their prey, which is consisted to a large proportion of fishes, but invertebrate animals are also included in their diet.
Although there are not many reports, they may attack divers if it is wounded from spear guns and the provoked or wounded large individuals can traumatise seriously. They also bear electrosensitivity and they are very important for the health of the reefs and the sea itself as well.
The animals mature after they have grown over 90 cm (♀♀ a bit larger) and they are viviparous. They bear 2 to 4 cubs measuring from about 35 cm to 50 cm each at birth.
Unfortunately many animals are getting caught – by various means – for their precious liver oil and their fins, which are considered as a delicacy of high value in Asia (ingredient for soup) and as aquarium specimens.
Although I disagree with the harvesting of all the sharks, I am not able to stand totally hostile against this idea, if the caught animal is used for feeding purposes and this statement is a weighty excuse, although debateable.
There is not a way though to do tolerate the idea of keeping these creatures in captivity in totally improper tanks, as the one is shown on the two above photos and which measures hardly 400 litres in volume.
I do consider such a thing as a crime and the tank owners as criminals themselves and I wish some day there will be a low against this bottomless stupidity and vanity of some so-called professionals.Not an animal for the average aquarist and not for the usual home aquaria. They need a massive (over 6.000 l) reef system, supported from any known filtering unit and other equipment to provide a healthy and decent artificial microenvironment for their well being (see the detailed relevant articles are uploaded in MCH). Better kept in well set up public aquaria systems, or left free in the sea.
This species is a Lessepsian migrant