Common Thresher Shark
Most scientists consider the Common Thresher Shark to be shy and not aggressive towards humans.
Common Thresher Shark Features and Size
The Common Thresher Shark (Alopias vulpinus) is the largest of the Thresher Shark species. The other two species being the Pelagic thresher shark and the bigeye thresher shark, which we will cover soon.
The Common Thresher Shark can grow to 20 feet/6.1 meters. The most distinguished feature of the Common Thresher Shark is its tail. The upper lob is eight to ten times larger than the lower lob. The tail is used to strike at fish to stun or kill them. The Thresher Shark swims through schools of fish flicking its tail violently striking away at the prey fish. Its tail really helps set it apart from other sharks.
The Common Thresher Shark has two dorsal fins. The second dorsal fin is much smaller than the first. Its teeth are small and no real threat to humans. If a thresher shark is around, pay close attention as a strike from its tail will cause far more damage. The tail also creates a lot of downward thrust as it swims.
Thresher Shark Distribution & Habitat
The Common Thresher Shark can be found from the surface down to 1,150 feet/351 meters. Most of the time they spend their time close to the surface where their food can be found.
The Common Thresher Shark has a large distribution stretching from the north western coast of Canada down to the tip of South America and back around to the coast of Labrador, across to northern british coast to sweden including all of the atlantic with the exception of the coastal waters near Greenland.
They are found in the Indian Ocean from Africa to Australia in the south and the Pacific Ocean. They only waters the Common Thresher Shark cannot be found is in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans.
Despite having an extensive range, the Common Thresher Shark has been classified as a vulnerable species.
The Common Thresher Shark is in high demand for its fins, meat and liver oil. However, it is slow to reproduce. They are being fished at a rate that is not sustainable. Continued fishing at current rates will lead to their collapse within 20 years if not sooner.
Thresher Shark Food Preferences
The Common Thresher Shark will feed on any schooling fish including mackerel, needlefish, bluefish, herring, lanternfish, hake, sardines and squid. Squid is becoming a popular part of their diet. Due to the reduction of shark populations around the world, squid populations have flourished in many parts of the world. In these areas, they are becoming a popular food for all share including the Common Thresher Shark.
Man Eater Danger Scale
Most scientists consider the Common Thresher Shark to be shy and not aggressive towards humans. In most cases, the Common Thresher Shark will avoid human contact and swim away. On the Man Eater Danger Scale, the Common Thresher Shark scores a 1 and it only scores that due to its size.