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Australian Wildlife

  Thresher Shark (Alopias vulpinus)





Thresher Shark | Alopias vulpinus photo
Thintail Thresher Shark

Image by U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - License: Public Domain.    (view image details)

Thresher Shark | Alopias vulpinus photo
Small Thresher Shark caught at Pacifica Pier, California.

Image by Paul E Ester - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)

Thresher Shark | Alopias vulpinus photo
Thresher Shark

Image by Tambja - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)



THRESHER SHARK FACTS

Description
The Thresher Shark is a large shark with pointed pectoral fins and a very long upper tail lobe (about as long as the body). It is grey, blue-grey or blackish on the back and underside of the snout, with white belly The Thresher has fairly small eyes, and a prominent white patch over the base of the pectoral fins. There are three species of thresher sharks recorded from Australian waters - the other two are the Bigeye Thresher which has much bigger eyes and the Pelagic Thresher which has blunter broad-tipped pectoral fins.

Size
total length to 5.5m . Average size 3m - 5m. Weight to 348kg.

Habitat
found over continental shelves and open ocean to depths of 500m. Most common near land to depths of 370m Young often swim in inshore waters and shallow bays.

Food
Feeds on schooling fish, squid, octopus, crustaceans, and rarely seabirds. The long tail is used to round up fish and then stun them.

Breeding
Ovoviviparous with two pups per litter. The pups are born in open water and are 1.1m - 1.5m long at birth.

Range
The Thresher Shark is found in temperate and topical waters around the world. In Australia it is found from southern Queensland to Tasmania and round the southern coast to the central coast of Western Australia.

Notes
Generally harmless to humans, although given its large size should be treated with caution.



Classification
Class:Chondrichthyes
Order:Lamniformes
Family:Alopiidae
Genus:Alopias
Species:vulpinus
Common Name:Thresher Shark

Relatives in same Genus
  Pelagic Thresher (A. pelagicus)
  Bigeye Thresher Shark (A. superciliosus)