The Thresher Shark: All You Need To Know!

The Thresher Shark is also known as the Alopias Vulpinus or Fox Shark. Its name originates from the sharks abnormally big tail (caudal fin), which is in most cases, as long as the shark itself!

Today, there are three surviving species of this Shark:

  • Pelagic Thresher
  • Bigeye Thresher
  • Thresher of the Field

However, scientists are baffled as to whether or not a fourth species may exist. This is still a mystery to aficionados, but many feel that the discovery of a fourth species is just a matter of time.

Also shrouded in obscurity is its beginning. Most likely, the closer relative of the Fox Shark is the Megamouth Shark. In an effort to uncover the many enigmas surrounding this peculiar fish, researchers are working nonstop.

Thresher sharks can grow to over 6 metres (20 feet) in length and 600 kilogrammes in weight, the largest known specimens (216 pounds). Bigeye Threshers are generally the largest with Pelagic Threshers being the smallest.

These are sluggish developing sharks. They achieve their maturity between 8 and 13 years old and survive about 22 years. Again, there is quite a bit of mystery here. Although some people believe this shark has the potential to live considerably longer, this has yet to be proven.


Although Thresher Sharks favour open and deep waters, they are often seen in shallow waters around coastal locations. Typically, they aren’t seen below 500 metres (1,640ft).

They prefer the Pacific and Indian Oceans, particularly the continental shelves of North and South America. But the specific habitat, again, remains mostly a mystery.

System of Intuition

All sharks have electro sensors, which allow them to detect electrical impulses from living things, but they also have an exceptional heat exchanger system. They are referred to as “endoderms” because of their unique thermoregulation. In other words, they produce heat by an internal bodily process such as boosting their metabolism and muscular shivering. Thresher Sharks are the only species with this particular trait.

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They tend to be lone wolves and prefer to operate on their own. But on occasion, they get together in big bunches. The Indian Ocean has seen the most of these occurrences. The reasoning for them get togeathers is yet unknown.

Hunting Behavior

These sharks can certainly swim fast. They are notorious for slaughtering their prey with their big tails and are famed for extraordinary jumping methods and behaviour termed “breaching” when they jump out of the water and into the air.

While hunting, they throw themselves with their whole body out of the water and do crazy turns. When they’re out in the open ocean, they’ll go after schools of fish like Tuna and Mackerel, as well as certain kinds of seabirds.


As with so many other characteristics of this intriguing shark, the reproductive behaviour is not widely investigated. We do know that they are Viviparous, which implies that eggs evolve in the uterus till delivery.

Pups typically range in length from 120 to 160cm and are born in litters of 2-5. (47 to 63 inches).

In the womb, there is a unique process known as “oophagy.” The puppies actually leave their eggs, still in the womb, and feed themselves with all the unfertilized eggs.

Relationship with Humans

The main hazard to the Thresher Shark is human fishing. Many fisherman catch them for sport, while others catch them for their fins, liver oil, tails, and flesh.

This species’ low reproduction rate relative to other sharks necessitates new legislation in light of recent population declines in order to keep the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem from being disrupted.

Humans are at very low risk from this species. The main concern of injury is divers getting hit with the massive tail. Attacks of any kind on humans are almost unheard of.

Reference: Sharksider

By Stefani Igaz

Stefani Igaz is 26 years old writer and editor from Brussels, Belgium. She is writing about maritime business, shipbuilding and offshore for Europe and Asia regions.