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What is a Thresher Shark?

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  • Written By: Alex Said
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2016
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A thresher shark is a small solitary shark species within the genus Alopias of the family Alopiidae. There are three different variations or species of Alopias: the pelagic thresher, the bigeye thresher, and the common thresher. The differences among the these shark species include their habitat and behavior as well as their coloring. This shark species is usually found in waters around Asia and the Atlantic, and are seldom found in the Pacific regions.

The main physical trait that an individual can use to identify and help distinguish a thresher shark from other shark species is its tail fin. They have a very long and narrow tail that often makes up half the shark's length. They often use their tail to defend themselves against predators and also as a way to attack their prey.

Coloring for these sharks can vary, ranging from purple to gray. These variations are largely to do with the type of thresher shark species it is. This shark species also tends to be of a smaller size when compared other shark species.

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The diet of a thresher shark usually consists of small bony fish species and crustaceans. They are very persistent in catching their prey. In some cases, their diet can also consist of squid and some larger fish species, such as tuna and bluefish. Like other shark species, the thresher shark is a predator and can substitute its diet with other fish species and even sea birds if the usual fish it preys on cannot be found or is scarce.

The thresher shark's behavior can be related to its location. These sharks are not social creatures; they are often found alone and live solitary lives. They often do not like to swim near the surface of the water but are willing to jump fully out of the water in order to catch their prey. If in groups, thresher sharks will often accompany other thresher sharks of the same gender.

These sharks are often found deep within the ocean, although some species can be found nearer coastal waters. In cases where they do venture near coastal areas, they tend to keep to themselves. In many cases, they only approach coastal waters if they are following their prey.

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