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Common Thresher Shark
Threat Level: low
The Common Thresher Shark is also
known as thresher,
blue thresher, green thresher, longtail shark, swiveltail,
fox shark & sea fox.
- COMMON THRESHER SHARK
Scientific Name.... Alopias Vulpinus
Family Name...... Alopiidae
- General Information: The Thresher Shark is
a member of the order of the Lamniformes (Mackerel Sharks). The
common thresher shark is one of three thresher sharks. These large,
pelagic sharks are easily recognizable by their long tails. They
have a short conicle snout, large eyes placed well forward on
the head, and a husky, spindle-shaped body. The first dorsal fin
is much larger than the second. The broad pectoral fins provide
lift when swimming, these strong, active sharks have enough power
to leap out of the water. Common threshers can be distinguished
from their relatives ( pelagic thresher and bigeye thresher )
by the position of the first dorsal fin, with its leading edge
above the trailing edge of the pectoral fins. The pectoral fins
are curved, with pointed tips. It has an anal fin, 5 gill slits
and the mouth is behind the eyes.
- Size: This Shark ranges in size from 16.5 to
20 feet in length including the tail. The upper lobe of the tail
is almost as long as the body section. Some of been recorded to
weigh over 500 pounds and more depending on the length of the
- Teeth: They have small jaws, with remarkably
efficient small, sharp teeth.
- Color: The body of the common thresher is dark
blue-gray above, with a sharp, ragged break marking the edge of
the white underside.
- Feeding Habits: They use their long tail to
slap the water surface, frightening prey into tight groups to
make capture easier. The common thresher sharks prey mostly on
schooling fishes, including mackerels, sardines, herrings, bluefishes,
needlefishes and lantern fishes. It also feeds on octopus, squids,
and pelagic crustaceans. It has been reported that rarely they
will prey on seabirds. They will hunt in small, loose groups,
with the size of the group related to abundance of prey.
- Senses: Threshers have the same 6 senses that
all others do. They have well developed sight, and smell, and
can detect electric currents given off by their prey. They also
have the senses of taste touch and hearing.
- Social Behaviour: These sharks are known to
be solitary creatures.
- Habitat | Migration | Distribution: The common
thresher shark is widespread in tropical and temperate waters.
They range in Western and eastern Atlantic, Indo-West Pacific,
and central Pacific. It is commonly seen swimming at the surface
in coastal waters, but also occurs at depths of 1,150 feet and
more. Although occasionally sighted in shallow, inshore waters,
thresher sharks are primarily pelagic; they prefer the open ocean.
- Life Span: This species has been estimated
to reach a maximum age of from 19 to 50 years.
- Reproduction: Common thresher sharks reproduce
ovoviviparous, the eggs hatch and the babies develop inside the
females body but there is no placenta to nourish the pups. Females
produce 4 to 6 young, with a gestation period of about 9 months
and the young measuring 3-5 feet long.
- Swimming: Very active and strong swimmers,
sometimes leaping out of the water.
- Common Thresher Shark Attacks: Not aggressive,
but should be treated with caution. The threshers tail can injure
- Population Report: Becoming uncommon in many
areas, due to fishing pressure.