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Thresher Shark (ALOPIAS VULPINUS)

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SHARK, THRESHER / ALOPIAS VULPINUS
4 8 37.10 81.13 Rimini Italy 090691 M. Carloni
10 20 57.95 127.12 Gosport England 130886 D. Froud
15 30 138.60 305.9 Jesolo Italy 140698 M. Perin
24 50 119.98 264.8 Isle of Wight England 76 J. Higgins
37 80 289.80 638.14 Carnun France 060899 JM. Llledo
60 130 300.00 481.11 Carry le Roue France 080890 A. Scavone
AT AT 300.00 661.6 Carry le Roue France 080890 A. Scavone

The thresher shark (ALOPIAS VULPINUS),

an oceanic and coastal species, inhabits tropical and cold -temperate waters worldwide. It is most common in temperate waters. In the Atlantic Ocean, it ranges from Newfoundland to Cuba and southern Brazil to Argentina, and from Norway and British Isles to Ghana and Ivory Coast, including the Mediterranean Sea. Although it is found along the entire U.S. Atlantic coast, it is rare south of New England. In the Indo-Pacific region, it is found off South Africa, Tanzania, Somalia, Maldives, Chagos Archipelago, Gulf of Aden , Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Japan , Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. The thresher shark is also found in the Society Islands, Fanning Islands, and Hawaiian Islands. In the eastern Pacific Ocean it occurs off the coast of British Columbia to central Baja California, Panama south to Chile.

The thresher shark is a pelagic species inhabiting both coastal and oceanic waters. It is most commonly observed far from shore, although it wanders close to the coast in search of food. Adults are common over the continental shelf, while juveniles reside in coastal bays and near shore waters. It's mostly seen on the surface but it inhabits waters to 1,800 feet (550 m) in depth. Thresher sharks are observed infrequently jumping out of the water. Threshers are considered a highly migratory species in the U.S. by the National Marine Fisheries Service for fishery management purposes.

thresher shark  (ALOPIAS VULPINUS)

The thresher shark can be easily identified by the long upper lobe of the caudal fin. The lobe can be as long as the body and gives the tail a slender "whiplike" appearance. It has a moderate size eye and a first dorsal fin free rear tip located ahead of the pelvic fins. The pectoral fins are falcate and narrow tipped. The sides above the pectoral-fin bases are marked with a white patch that extends forward from the abdominal area.

Threshers are usually dark brown and slate gray but can be almost completely black. They are white on their underside, but have dark spots near the pelvic fin and the caudal peduncle. The white color can extend above the pectoral fins onto the head.

Threshers have small, blade like, smooth edge-curved teeth. There are 20 teeth on either side of the upper jaw and 21 teeth on either side of the lower jaw. The two jaws have similar teeth with each successive tooth becoming increasingly oblique with outer margins increasingly deeply concave.

Male thresher sharks mature at about 10.5 feet (330 cm ) and females at around 8.5 - 14.8 feet (260 - 450cm). They are about 5 feet (150 cm) long at birth and grow 1.6 feet (50 cm) a year as juveniles. Adults grow about 0.3 feet (10 cm) a year. The maximum reported length of the thresher shark is 24.9 feet (760 cm), and the maximum weight recorded is over 750 lbs (340 kg) .

Bony fish make up 97% of the thresher's diet. They feed mostly on small schooling fish such as menhaden, herring, Atlantic saury, sand lance, and mackerel. Bluefish and butterfish are the most common meal. They also feed on bonito and squid. Thresher sharks encircle schools of fish and then stun the prey with their tails. This is often done in groups and/or pairs. They have also been known to kill sea birds with their tails.

The thresher shark is an ovoviviparous species, meaning it develops without a placental attachment. The embryos feed on eggs passed into the uterus. Approximately two to four young develop with each pregnancy. Size at birth is usually between 3.7- 5.0 feet (114-160 cm) and 11 - 13 lbs (5-6 kg), corresponding directly with the mother's size. The caudal fin is proportionally as long in the embryo as it is in the adult. They reproduce annually and are thought to reproduce throughout the species range.

Information supplied by http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu

 
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