Monday, July 18, 2011

Life of Bigeye Thresher Shark

 

Life of Sea | Bigeye Thresher Shark (Alopias superciliosus) | This sea predator got its name from the "huge eye" of this marine. Bigeye thresher sharks are also called Long-tailed shark, Thresher shark and Whiptail shark. Bigeye thresher shark are found in warm, temperate and tropical oceanic and coastal waters from the surface to depths of 500 feet (152.3 m). They live in continental shelf and in the open sea. But sometimes, you can see them in shallow coastal waters.  

 

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Chondrichthyes
Subclass:     Elasmobranchii
Order:     Lamniformes
Family:     Alopiidae, Bonaparte, 1838
Genus:     Alopias, Rafinesque, 1810
 
Although Bigeye thresher shark have been sighted in inshore shallow waters, they are found more often in oceanic waters. These sharks range from the coast of New York to Florida and from the California coast to the Gulf of California and south of the Hawaiian Islands. This shark is also found in Cuban waters as well as tropical waters worldwide off the coasts of Portugal to Angola to South Africa, as well as off the coasts of northwest Australia, New Zealand, southern Japan, and Taiwan. 


Bigeye thresher shark exhibits counter shading with the dorsal surface having a purplish gray to brownish gray color with metallic hues, while its ventral side is a solid, pale, cream color. "Huge eye" of this shark is used for hunting in low light condition or dark ocean.  Bigeye thresher shark has enormous long upper caudal lobe. The upper lobe of the caudal fin can reach lengths of 50% of the total length. The Thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) is similar with Bigeye thresher shark. But, you can differ them by the size of the eye. Additionally, Thresher sharks have white coloration extending from its abdomen to above the pectoral fins.


Bigeye thresher sharks are strong swimmers, and it is known that they use their long tails to stun their prey. They feed mainly pelagic fishes, including mackerels, herrings, and small billfishes. They also eatbottom fishes (such as whiting and hake), oceanic squids (such as the bioluminescent deep-sea squid, Lycoteuthis diadema, and ommastrephid 'flying' squids).

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