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Common Thresher Shark


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 shark.


  • 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 divers.


  • Population Report: Becoming uncommon in many areas, due to fishing pressure.

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