Fish ID: The Thresher shark
by Cindy
in Blog
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everything you always wanted to know about "thresher shark"

- They are also called "fox sharks" due to their high level of intelligence
- They have warm blood, they are one of a few shark specie that have "endothermic capabilities" (special thermoregulation system)
- The largest known Thresher Sharks spotted had a length of more than 6 meters and weight about 500-600 kgs
- Due to their population depletion, new laws have been enacted to protect this species from upsetting the fragile balance of the marine ecosystem, especially since these sharks have a low reproductive rate as compared to other shark

Where to find them?

You can find thresher sharks in all temperate and tropical oceans, but mostly in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, especially at the continental shelves of America and Asia.

You can usually find them in deep open water (generally until 500m), but also sometimes you can find them in shallow water near coastal areas. 

How long do they live?

In the wild there are some specimens that have been spotted through a timeframe of 19 to 50 years.

What size are they?

On average, thresher sharks reach up about 5,50 meters long. They grow slowly, but they can reach up to 6 meters long.

How many species?

Until today, we discovered about 3 different species Pelagic, Bigeye and Common), but in 1995 scientists discovered a potentially new specie. These has only been one sample of this potential specie found so far.

How do they reproduce?

Thresher sharks are oviviparous. It means the fertilization and embryonic development occurs inside the female. Due to that, they can have only 2 to 4 pups at a time.
They reproduce late in life, males reach sexual maturity between 7 and 13 years of age and females between 8 and 14 years.

How & what do they eat?

They are carnivorous predators. They eat mainly fish such as bluefish, juvenile tuna, and mackerel, which they are known to follow into shallow waters, as well as squid and cuttlefish.

Thresher sharks catch preys by using their tails as a tool to hit them and stunt them before eating them.

How do they move?

The thresher sharks are strong swimmers. They are are one of the fastest sharks in the ocean. They can also jump out of the water, a behavior known as "breaching". Due to their athletic morphology they can swim fast, indeed, their long caudal fin helps them to propulse and they have a red muscle along their flanks that helps them with extra strength and power. 

Who are their predators?

Thresher sharks are apex predators, they are hunt by only a few "top-level predators", such as killer whales and larger sharks.

Unfortunately, the largest threat to the thresher Shark is Human. Many fisherman catch them for sport, while others catch them for their fins, liver oil, tails, and flesh.

What people usually ignore?

Many different aspects about this shark are still mysterious. One of them is their reproductive behavior. 
Another one is its origin. Most likely, the closer relative of the Thresher Shark is the Megamouth Shark.
Currently, scientific studies are still ongoing to try and resolve the mysteries that surround this fascinating and beautiful fish.

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