Thresher sharks, also known as the Atlantic thresher, big-eye thresher and common thresher, are easily distinguishable from other sharks due to their unique tail. In fact, that tail is rather large, almost half of the total length of their body, and making up 33% of the shark’s body weight. It’s been said that this tail can weigh up to 767 lbs! They commonly reach 5 m (16 ft) long and 230 kg (510 lb)!
Thus far, the record for this shark is 5.7 m (19 ft). The heaviest individual on record is a 4.8 m (16 ft) female that weighed 510 kg (1,120 lb).
Well, it’s not just for show… except it kind of is. These tails are used for hunting. They are also one of few sharks that breach out of the water- like great whites!
You heard me. They herd their prey (such as small schooling fish) and then once they are huddled, the tail helps stir the water around the school, almost like a whirpool, trapping the animals. And then, the shark zooms through the fish group, mouth open, catching animals. If necessary, sharks can whack the prey with their tail, stunning them, allowing the shark to gobble them up.
Nope. Check it out.
Juveniles are found closer inshore and in the shallows, mostly likely for protection, as they are solitary.
Actually, scientists observed populations in the Indian Ocean being separated by both depth and gender.
These sharks are ovoviviparous, with a litter usually having 4-6 pups in it. They do practice oophagy, as well. Pups grow quickly, but are slow to mature (like most sharks), and are born in open water unlike most of the sharks we have discussed here at Sarasota Fins. No reproductive season has been identified for threshers.
As with many sharks, threshers often become entangled in fishing nets and become bycatch. They are considered harmless to humans, though, highly sought by sport fishermen because of their fights that usually turn aerial; this is primarily in the US and South Africa. Not really found in the US fish markets, they are consumed elsewhere, being valued for their meat, liver, skin and fins.
ALL three thresher sharks are assessed as "Vulnerable to Extinction" by the IUCN.
"Wait. Did you say THREE?"