Fun Pelagic Thresher Shark Facts For Kids

Devangana Rathore
Oct 20, 2022 By Devangana Rathore
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
There are so many fun pelagic thresher shark facts to know and learn.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

Pelagic threshers are the tiniest of thresher sharks, measuring 10 ft (3 m) in length and weighing 153.3 lb (69.5 kg). This shark has a fusiform body shape, meaning it is broad in the middle but tapered at the edges, and a thin upper long caudal-fin lobe nearly as long as the remainder of the shark. However, they are known for a lot more than just their small bodies. Their tail, which extends a long way from their body, is one of their most prominent features. In fact, it is this tail, in addition to some other factors, that has led to poachers and hunters illegally fishing and capturing these sharks at an alarming rate. It is this human intervention that has led to these creatures being classified as Endangered by the IUCN List.

The world is full of wonderful creatures for you to know and learn all about! In addition to this shark, you can also read about other animals like the hammerhead shark and the saw shark.

Pelagic Thresher Shark Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a pelagic thresher shark?

The pelagic thresher (Alopias pelagicus) is a type of shark.

What class of animal does a pelagic thresher shark belong to?

The pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus) species belongs to the class of mammals.

How many are pelagic thresher sharks there in the world?

The estimated population of these sharks is not known. There are three thresher shark species belonging to the Alopias genus.

Where does a pelagic thresher shark live?

This species of thresher sharks live in the Pacific and Indian Oceans at a maximum depth of 492.1 ft (150 m). This is different to a nurse shark that is a bottom-dwelling coastal species and found in rocky areas beneath the ocean.

What is a pelagic thresher shark's habitat?

A pelagic thresher's habitat is in the open ocean and this species can be found from the surface to a maximum depth of 492.1 ft (150 m). This shark has been seen along coral reef drop-offs and seamounts such as the Red Sea and the Gulf of California. It occasionally comes near the shore in locations with a thin continental shelf.

Who do pelagic thresher sharks live with?

This species of thresher sharks (order Lamniformes, family Alopiidae) are solitary animals who like to be alone.

How long does a pelagic thresher shark live?

Pelagic threshers have a life span of between 17-29 years.

How do they reproduce?

Like all other mackerel sharks, the pelagic thresher is ovoviviparous. This means that eggs develop in the uterus until they are born, and female sharks normally have two litters every year. The developing babies are oophagous, meaning they feed on the mother's unfertilized eggs. As a result, the young are extraordinarily enormous, reaching up to 43% of the mother's length at birth. As there is no set breeding season, usually adult females are pregnant all year and the gestation period is unknown.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus) is Endangered, according to the IUCN Red List. At the same time, the great white shark is listed as Vulnerable.

Pelagic Thresher Shark Fun Facts

What do pelagic thresher sharks look like?

The pectoral fins have broad, rounded tips and are straight and long. The first dorsal fin is located midway between the pectoral fins and pelvic fins and is around the same size as the pelvic fins. The anal and second dorsal fins are tiny. The teeth are quite tiny, with each side having 21–22 rows. Dermal denticles, which are very minute and smooth, cover the entire body. The color is a deep dark blue on top and white on the bottom.

It takes its title from the shark's extraordinarily long tail and caudal fin, which can be as long as the shark itself!

How cute are they?

Thresher sharks have an adorable appearance. They have lengthy tails, so they don't appear as frightening as other sharks. However, they still are aggressive and dangerous.

How do they communicate?

Sharks can converse physically with one another in groups by arching their body. Sharks can also detect vibrations in the ocean water thanks to a particular organ known as the lateral line. Sharks can navigate the surroundings via detecting vibrations.

How big is a pelagic thresher shark?

A thresher shark's length measures up to 120 in (3 m). In contrast, the second biggest shark, the basking shark, has a length between 236.2-315 in (6-8 m). Therefore, the length of a basking shark is larger than thresher sharks.

How fast can a pelagic thresher shark swim?

Thresher sharks may swim at speeds of up to 30 mph (48.3 kph). This shark species can spin its tail at an incredible 80 mph (128.7 kph). These sharks are highly swift and ferocious while capturing their prey. This fish uses its long caudal tail to stun prey before catching it.

How much does a pelagic thresher shark weigh?

The average body weight of this shark species that dwells in the open ocean is about 153.3 lb (69.5 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female pelagic thresher sharks do not have any specific names.

What would you call a baby pelagic thresher shark?

Young thresher sharks are known as pups and they consume unfertilized eggs for food.

What do they eat?

These pelagic thresher sharks with small teeth are easily identified by their lengthy upper caudal fin lobes, the top part of the tail fin. These thrashers crowd schooling fish together to catch them, then shock them with their tails, catching the prey more easily. Small midwater fish, schooling fish, and cephalopods make up most of the pelagic thresher's diet. The pelagic thresher has limited competition with other large marine piscivores that feed close to the surface like billfishes, dolphinfishes, and tunas.

Are they dangerous?

These thresher sharks aren't thought to be a threat to humans. These threshers have never been linked to a human attack.

Would they make a good pet?

Sharks are wild creatures that can be seen in the ocean and should be left alone or kept in professional aquariums.

Did you know...

In South Africa, the United States particularly in Baja California, and Mexico thresher sharks are prized sport fish.

Goblin sharks gained their common name from the Japanese mythological creature Tenguzame and nicknamed 'elfin sharks'.

The majority of this species is caught in open seas.

They are notorious for murdering their victims with their enormous tails and for specific jumping techniques and behavior known as 'breaching', when they leap from the water into the air.

Are pelagic thresher sharks rare?

Commercial fisheries prize pelagic threshers for the skin, meat, liver oil, and shark fin, while sport fishers follow them. As a result, this species was listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2019. The caudal fin, the long, whip-like top lobe of the thresher shark's tail, is the shark's most distinguishing feature. Bycatch thresher sharks can be caught and killed recreationally.

How does the pelagic thresher shark compared with other thresher sharks?

There are three distinct species of thresher shark are common threshers (Alopias vulpinus), the pelagic thresher shark (Alopias pelagicus), and the bigeye thresher (Alopias superciliosus). All are found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The common thresher shark is the largest and quickest growing of the three, whereas the pelagic thresher shark is the tiniest. The common thresher (Alopias vulpinus) is also has the longest life expectancy, ranging from 19-50 years. Bigeye threshers, on the other hand, are expected to live for around 20-21 years. The distribution of these species along the water column also differs slightly. A bigeye thresher (Alopias superciliosus) can go significantly deeper in the water than other threshers, including pelagic threshers.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these nurse shark facts and goblin shark facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable pelagic thresher shark coloring pages.

Pelagic Thresher Shark Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small pelagic fish

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

153.3lb (69.5 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

tropical and subtropical waters

Where Do They Live?

pacific and indian oceans

How Long Were They?

10ft (3 m)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Alopias pelagicus

What Do They Look Like?

Dark blue and white

Skin Type

Wet skin

What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

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Written by Devangana Rathore

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana Rathore picture

Devangana RathoreBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.

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