Species A. vulpinus, A. pelagicus, A. superciliosus
Thresher Shark Basics
The thresher shark is a genus that consists of 3 shark species found in all temperate and tropical waters throughout the globe. They have lengthy tails that may extend as far as the shark’s body. Its mouth and teeth are tiny, and its skull is short and cone-shaped.
The Common Thresher (A. vulpinus) is the biggest of the three species, measuring 20 feet (6.1 metres) in length and weighing over 1100 pounds (500 kg). The Big Eye Thresher (A. superciliosus) may reach a height of 16 feet (4.9 metres), while the Pelagic Thresher (A. pelagicus) can reach a height of 10 feet (3 ft). Their skin colour ranges from brown to blue to purple-gray depending on the species and water conditions, with their dorsal side being paler in colour. They have tiny dorsal fins and huge pectoral fins.
Thresher sharks are pelagic, which means they move freely in the water column rather than dwelling on the seafloor. They are mostly solitary hunters, but they do occasionally hunt in small groups of two or more individuals. Thresher sharks shock their prey, usually schooling fish, with their long tails before spinning around to consume the stunned prey. They may follow the schools into shallow inshore waters, but they prefer to stay in deeper water. Squid and cuttlefish are among the mollusks eaten by threshers. They will sometimes look for crabs on the seabed or even seabirds on the top. Their main predators are larger shark species, as well as orcas.
In the United States and South Africa, thresher sharks are coveted game fish, and in Baja California, Mexico, they are the subject of a sport fishery. They are also caught up in the shark meat and fin trade. Because of overfishing and their poor growth rate, Thresher sharks have been designated as vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN since 2007.
The thresher shark does not have a specific breeding season. Sharks’ internal fertilisation and embryonic development occur internally in sharks, as they do in many other animals. Females often have a small litter of 2-4 big puppies that may grow up to 59 inches (150 cm) and develop slowly, becoming fertile between the ages of 7 and 14 years. Thresher sharks may live up to 20 years.
Are They Dangerous?
Thresher sharks are members of the Lamniformes order, which also includes the Great White shark (from the Greek Lamna, “fish of prey”). However, because of their tiny size and jaws, they are not a danger to people. Because they don’t eat huge prey of any type, they’re less likely to confuse humans with their natural food, as is the case in most shark attacks. There has never been a record of a Thresher shark attacking a person.
Fun Facts about Thresher Sharks!
Due to their long history and extensive fossil records, thresher sharks share many features with other shark species, making them excellent animals to study diverse biological concepts.
How Sharks Lurk in the Depths
Countershading, often known as Thayer’s Law, is a sort of crypsis or camouflaging in which an animal’s top side is darker in colour than its bottom. It is an evolutionary adaption that may be seen in predatory and prey species, including mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, and insects.
When light strikes a three-dimensional object from above, the top side appears brighter than the bottom, where certain shadows may continue to conceal light. This makes it easy to spot the thing. Being spotted isn’t necessarily a positive thing in nature. It might make it more difficult for an animal to surprise its prey. It can also make it more likely for predators to notice it. This facilitated the evolution of countershading, which mitigates this phenomenon throughout the animal world.
Despite the fact that their ventral pigmentation varies, all Thresher sharks have a lighter dorsal coloration. Imagine gazing up at the animal from below, with the sun shining brightly in the background. You may also be looking down on the shark from above, surrounded by the dark ocean depths. It’s simple to see how Thresher sharks’ brighter underside and darker top side would make them less visible to attackers and prey in these environments.
Are Thresher Sharks Warm-Blooded?
Endotherms are animals that can retain part of their internal heat to keep their body temperature at a biologically optimal level. Rather than depending simply on ambient heat, this is usually accomplished by preserving part of the heat created by an organism’s internal organs. These creatures are often referred to as “warm-blooded.”
At least two species of Thresher shark have an altered circulatory system that allows them to save metabolic heat. All vertebrates, including mammals and birds, as well as tuna and billfish, have similar adaptations. Humans and other creatures are familiar with the phenomenon of shivering, which involves the redirection of blood to places that create heat.
The animal may work more effectively by lowering the amount of heat dissipated into the environment, enabling them to subsist on less food than would otherwise be required. This is an obvious evolutionary benefit.