Alopias pelagicus   Nakamura,  1936 (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Elasmobranchii

Image copyrights: Romanov, EV

Size: Max length 347 cm TL male/unsexed; 383 cm TL (female); common length 276 cm TL male/unsexed

Color: Bluish or grey above, white below, with a silvery sheen in gill region; white colour from belly not handed over pectoral fin bases.

Head with 5 medium-sized gill slits, the last 2 above pectoral fin bases; a weak horizontal groove on nape on each side from level of mouth to pectoral fins; no nasal barbels or nasoral grooves on nostrils; snout moderately long and conical; forehead nearly straight in lateral view; broadly arched between eyes; head narrow; no nictitating eyelids; eyes moderately enlarged in adults and sub adults but greatly enlarged in young, not expanded onto dorsal surface of head; mouth moderately long and semicircular, placed below eyes, with labia furrows rudimentary or absent; teeth small, more than 29 rows in each jaw, sharp-edged, with a single, narrow, nearly erect or distally oblique cusp and often a distal cusplet; anterior teeth not greatly enlarged, uppers separated from the large laterals by smaller intermediate teeth. Two dorsal fins, the first moderately large and located about equidistant between the pectoral and pelvic fin bases or slightly closer to the pectoral bases; second dorsal fin minute and positioned well ahead of the small anal fin; pectoral fins narrow, long and nearly straight, broad-tipped, and not falcate; upper lobe of caudal fin very long and straplike, about as long as the rest of the shark; lower lobe short but strong; terminal lobe very small. Upper precaudal pit present but caudal keels absent. Intestinal valve of ring type.

Max. age reported: 29 years

Synonym (s)
Alopias superciliosus non Lowe, 1841
(Misapplied name)
Alopias vulpinus non Bonnaterre, 1788
(Misapplied name)

Common Name (s)
• Whiptail Shark (English)
• Thresher Shark (English)
• Smalltooth Thresher Shark (English)
• Smalltooth Thresher (English)
• Pelagic Thresher (English)
• Fox Shark (English)
• Pelagic Thresher Shark (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries, gamefish. Utilized for human consumption, liver oil for vitamin extraction, hides for leather, and fins for shark-fin soup.)

Habitat:  Pelagic, Open Sea, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Tertiary Consumer
Prey:  Zooplankton, cephalopods, finfish, bonyfish
IUCN Status:  Vulnerable


• Kerala, Kochi INDIA (Record: 2000-2002)
• Red Sea
• Arabian Sea INDIA
• Kerala, Kochi Fisheries Harbour INDIA (Record: 01/2008-06/2009) (Depth: 0-300 mts)

Literature Source(s)
  • Venkataraman, K; Milton, MCJ and Raghuram, KP (2003) Handbook on sharks of Indian waters ZSI, Kolkata 1-113
  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Available at -
  • Zoological Survey of India (Eds) (1991) Animal resources of India (Protozoa to Mammalia) ZSI 1-694 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Compagno, LJV; Last, PR; Stevens, JD and MNR, Alava (2005) Checklist of Philippine Chondrichthyes CSIRO Marine Laboratories 104 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Hussain, SM Brief report on biodiversity in the coastal areas of Pakistan p 113
  • Joshi, KK; Balachandran, K and Raje, SG (2008) Changes in the shark fishery at Cochin Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin, India 50(1) 103-105 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 5 Available at -
  • Raje, SG; Sivakami, S; Mohanraj, G; Manoj Kumar, PP; Raju, A and Joshi, KK (2007) An atlas on the Elasmobranch fishery resources of India CMFRI Special publication CMFRI, Cochin, India. 95 253pp Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -
  • Akhilesh, KV; Ganga, U; Pillai, NGK; Vivekanandan, E; Bineesh, KK; Shanis, CPR and Hashim, M (2011) Deep-sea fishing for chondrichthyan resources and sustainability concerns-a case study from southwest coast of India Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences NISCAIR 40(3) 347-355 Available at -

Page last updated on:2012-02-17

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