The blacktip shark gets its name from its distinctive black markings on the tips of its fins. Blacktip sharks are stout-bodied with a moderately long and pointed snout. They lack an interdorsal ridge. The first dorsal fin, positioned slightly posterior to the pectoral fin insertion, is high and has a narrowly pointed apex. The pectoral fins are fairly large and pointed. The blacktip shark is dark gray/blue to brown above, and white below with a distinct white band across the flank. The black tips found on the pectoral fins, first and second dorsals, pelvic fins, and lower caudal lobe are very apparent, though they tend to fade with age. The blacktip does not usually have black tips on its anal fin. The similar-looking spinner shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna) does usually develop a black tip on its anal fin several months after birth.