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NEFSC Apex Predators Program

Bigeye thresher shark

BIGEYE THRESHER

Alopias superciliosus

SIZE

To about 15 ft (4.6 m).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Eyes large, directed upward
  • Head with deep grooves on top forming "helmet"
  • Caudal fin sickle-shaped, upper lobe extremely long (about 50 percent of total body length)
  • Color dark purplish-brown or grayish-brown with dark metallic hues above; lighter coloring below, not extending above pectoral fins
  • First dorsal fin originating well behind free tips of pectoral fins

DISTRIBUTION

New York to Cuba, including Gulf of Mexico.

HABITAT

Offshore at edge of continental shelf from surface to 1,640 ft (500 m).

SIMILAR SPECIES

Thresher shark has moderate-sized eyes directed laterally, white on abdomen extending above pectoral fins; lacks grooves on top of head.

MORE INFORMATION

Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History


Guide to Sharks, Tunas, & Billfishes of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Text descriptions taken from:
Guide to Sharks, Tunas, & Billfishes
of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

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(File Modified Aug. 08 2017)