Alopias superciliosus   (Lowe,  1839) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Elasmobranchii

Image copyrights: FAO

Size: Maximum about 460 to 470 cm; most adults between about 300 to 400 cm.

Max. weight reported: 363.8 kg

Color: Purplish-grey above, cream below, posterior edges of pectorals, pelvics and sometimes first dorsal fin dusky; light color of abdomen not expanded over pectoral fin bases.

Head with 5 medium-sized gill slits, the last 2 above pectoral fin bases; a deep horizontal groove on nape on each side from the level of mouth to pectoral fins; no nasal barbels or nasoral grooves on nostrils; snout moderately long and conical; profile of forehead distinctly indented over eyes; interorbital space nearly flat; no nictitating eyelids; eyes very large, expanding onto dorsal surface of head, permitting upward vision; mouth moderately long and semicircular, placed below the eyes, with rudimentary labial furrows; teeth moderately large, less than 25 rows in upper or lower jaws, sharp-edged, with a single, broad, straight or posteriorly curved cusp and no cusplets; anterior teeth not greatly enlarged, uppers not separated from the large laterals by smaller intermediate teeth. Two dorsal fins, the first moderately large and located just in front of the pelvic fin origins, closer to the pelvics than to the pectorals; second dorsal fin minute and positioned well ahead of the small anal fin; pectoral fins very narrow, long and falcate, broad-tipped; upper lobe of caudal fin very long and straplike, almost or quite equal to the length of rest of shark; lower lobe short but well-developed. Upper precaudal pit present but caudal keels absent. Intestinal valve of ring type.

Dioecious, internal (oviduct) fertilization; bearers, internal live bearers. Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding on other ova produced by the mother (oophagy) after the yolk sac is absorbed. With 2-4 young per litter (usually 2). Size at birth between 64-106 cm; 100-140 cm TL. No fixed mating or birthing season. Distinct pairing with embrace.

Max. age reported: 20 years

Stuns its prey with its long caudal fin.

Synonym (s)
Alopecias superciliosus Lowe, 1841
(Senior synonym)
Alopias pelagicus (non Nakamura, 1935)
(Misapplied name)
Alopias profundus Nakamura, 1935
Alopias vulpinus (non Bonnaterre, 1788)
(Misapplied name)

Common Name (s)
• Bigeye Thresher (English)
• Bigeye Thresher Shark (English)
• Deepsea Bigeye Thresher (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Gamefish, marketed fresh and may be broiled, baked or grilled, but unsuitable for steaming, boiling or frying; meat may be salted and dried. Utilized for human consumption, liver oil for vitamins, skin for leather, and fins for shark-fin soup. Used frozen and canned.)

Habitat:  Pelagic
Prey:  Pelagic fishes (lancet fishes, herring, mackerel and small billfishes) and bottom fishes (hake) and squids.
IUCN Status:  Vulnerable


• Arabian Sea INDIA
• Kerala, Kochi Fisheries Harbour INDIA (Record: 01/2008-06/2009) (Depth: 0-500 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 -
  • Compagno, LJV; Last, PR; Stevens, JD and MNR, Alava (2005) Checklist of Philippine Chondrichthyes CSIRO Marine Laboratories 104 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Hussain, SM Brief report on biodiversity in the coastal areas of Pakistan p 113
  • Letourneur, Y; Chabanet, P; Durville, P; Taquet, M; Teissier, E; Parmentier, M; Quero, JC and Pothin, K (2004) An updated checklist of the marine fish fauna of Reunion Island, south-western Indian Ocean Cybium 28(3) 199-216
  • 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 -
  • 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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