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ISSUE # 17 SHARK SPECIES; PELAGIC THRESHER SHARK
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pelagic thresher shark - thresher shark - pictures of thresher sharks - diving with thresher sharks
Image; Pelagic Thresher Shark
(article on pg. 30)

Image courtesy of
Matt Newell

COMMON NAMES;
Thresher Shark, common thresher, fox shark, sea fox, swiveltail, thrasher.
LATIN NAME(S);
Alopias pelagicus
FAMILY;
Lamniformes
IDENTIFICATION; two dorsal fins, an anal fin, five gill slits, eyes without nictitating membrane, and mouth extending behind the eyes. An extremely long upper caudel fin, used to help them hunt for food.
SIZE; Maximum length 10 ft and a weight of 153 lb.
HABITAT; The pelagic thresher prefers open ocean where they can be found from the surface to depths of around 492 ft. They are abundant of the north-east coast of Taiwan and North American waters around California and Mexico. Their full distribution is unknown due to confusion with the long-tailed thresher, Alopias vulpinus.

The pelagic thresher's preferred food are herring, flying fish and pelagic squid. They use their extremely long upper caudal fin in a whip-like fashion to stun their prey.

DISTRIBUTION; Circumtropical
BEHAVIOR; In shore and off shore reefs and surrounding tropical ocean environments. Intertidal to 80 meters.
REPRODUCTION; ovoviviparity. The embryo is nourished in the yolk sac, in later development the unborn shark is feed on ovulated eggs, a process known as oophagy. At birth the young measure around 5.2 to 6.2 ft. The gestation period is unknown.
REACTION TO DIVERS; Extremely Shy. They are hard to find, even in a baited situation. Are sometimes curious with divers, and may become bold and make close passes at divers but not normally aggressive. Care should be taken due to large tail size
DIVE OPERATOR; This article was written about the authors encounters with pelagic thresher sharks while diving The Two Brothers Islands in the Red Sea.

For opportunities to encounter pelagic threshers please visit www.redseadivers.com

EDITOR'S NOTE: Shark Diving is an extreme sport. It carries a considerable risk of personal injury or death. Do not participate in these activities unless you are an expert, have sought or obtained qualified professional instruction or guidance, are knowledgeable about the risks involved and are willing to assume personal responsibility for all the risks involved with this sport.

When planning any shark trip make sure to do your homework. There is NEVER any guarantees you will see any sharks at these dive sites. Luck and time of year are the most important factors for any shark trip.

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