Thresher sharks have big eyes, a small mouth, large pectoral fins, first dorsal fin and pelvic fins. They have a small second dorsal fin (near their tail) and anal fins. Their most noticeable characteristic, as noted above, is that the top lobe of their tail is unusually long and whip-like. This tail may be used to herd and stun small fish, upon which it preys.
Depending on the species, thresher sharks may be grey, blue, brown or purplish above and light gray to white below their pectoral fins. They can grow to a maximum of about 20 feet in length. These sharks are sometimes seen jumping out of the water.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Chondrichthyes
- Subclass: Elasmobranchii
- Order: Lamniformes
- Family: Alopiidae
- Genus: Alopias
- Species: vulpinus, pelagicus or superciliosus
According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, thresher shark meat and fins are valuable, their skin can be made into leather and the oil in their liver can be used for vitamins.
- Compagno, L., Dando, M. and S. Fowler. 2005. Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press.
- Jordan, Vaness. Thresher Shark (Online). Florida Museum of Natural History Icthyology Department. Accessed August 8, 2011.
- NOAA. 2011. FishWatch: Atlantic Common Thresher Shark (Online). NOAA. Accessed August 8, 2011.
- NOAA. 2011. FishWatch: Pacific Common Thresher Shark (Online). NOAA. Accessed August 8, 2011.
- World Register of Marine Species. 2011. Thresher Shark Species List. Accessed August 8, 2011.