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The thresher shark is in the order Selachii and family Alopiidae. Its genus
species is Alopias vulpinus for the common thresher sharks which coloring
varies from coppery-brown to bronze color above, with metallic hues; the
undersides are white or with the Alopias supercilious for the big eyed thresher
which have a dark brown to metallic black with paler ventral surface for coloring.
Thresher sharks called the fox shark, whiptail, thrasher, swiveltail, swingle
tail. The big eyed thresher is identified by their large upward-looking eyes.
Threshers are easily classified by their large caudal fin which takes the length of
about half of their body which can get up to about 20 ft. (5.49 meters). The
thresher shark’s tail is made up of a special set of vertebrae creating a deadly
force to hit with.
Thresher shark’s favorite foods are mackerels and garfish. It commonly
feeds on pilchard and herring. They get their food by one or more thresher
sharks circling a group of fish lashing them into a small group they are easily
able to catch. Then the thresher shark darts in with it’s mouth open wide as it
swims through and snaps up several victims, flailing its tail, stunning or killing
the fish that get in the tail’s way. It has been seen several times that the shark’s
tail was used to sweep food towards it mouth for it to eat. In one sweep of the
tail it stuns a fish and then in the next it uses the tail to push the fish into its
mouth. In one example, a thresher shark was found with 25 mackerels in its
stomach. The mackerel can get up to 3 pounds.
Thresher sharks can almost swim as fast as a Mako. It can swim about
50km per hour. Their habitat is deep water coastal regions off of North America,
Australia, Africa, South America. More specifically threshers live in warmer
coastal waters off the Atlantic and eastern Pacific, although in summer they
move to cooler waters off northern Europe and new England.
Thresher shark is a nuisance to mackerel and bait fishermen because the
shark and their long tails become entangled in the fishermen’s nets while they
try to catch other fish. They are a common idea at the fish markets and in many
parts of the world are fished for with long lines and gillnets. They are considered
harmless to humans, although a few boat attacks have been reported. They are
classed as game fish and are known for great jumping capacity. Thresher
sharks are becoming scarcer due to heavy fishing pressure.
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Alopiidae, Ichthyology, Common thresher, Sharks, Thresher shark, Elasmobranchii, Thresher, Fish physiology, Fish, Bait fish, Mackerel, Pelagic thresher
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