Alopias pelagicus

Nakamura, 1935

Pelagic thresher
Classification: Elasmobranchii Lamniformes Alopiidae

Reference of the original description
Nakamura, H. (1935)
On the two species of the thresher shark from Formosan waters. Memoirs Faculty Science Taihoku Imperial University Formosa, 14(1): 1–6, pls 1–3

Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Alopias aff. pelagicus, Alopias pelagios

Alopias pelagicus

Description :

Citation: Alopias pelagicus Nakamura, 1935: In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 03/2024

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Alopias pelagicus Nakamura, 1935, © FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Ebert, D.A. 2014. On Board Guide for the Identification of Pelagic Sharks and Rays of the Western Indian Ocean. Reproduced with permission, illustration by Marc Dando , Wildlife Illustrator
Common names
spa Tiburon zorro, spa Zorro de mar, spa Zorro pelágico, fra \(T\) Renard pélagique, fra \(T\) Requin-renard, eng Fox shark, eng Pelagic thresher, eng Pelagic thresher shark, eng Small tooth thresher shark, eng Smalltooth thresher, eng Smalltooth thresher shark, eng Thresher shark, eng Whiptail shark, por Tubarão-raposo-do-Indico, por Zorro pelágico

Short Description
A small thresher with moderately large eyes, a broadly convex forehead, a very narrow caudal tip, and straight, broad-tipped pectoral fins [536]. Upper lobe of caudal fin very long and strap-like, almost equal to length of rest of shark; lower lobe short but strong; terminal lobe very small [20050]. Dark blue on back and sides, underside white; no white patch over pectoral fin bases [536].
Diet: 2013: Ecuadorian waters (data base: 111 speciemens, collected between June and December 2003): Stomach content analysis showed that approximately 77% (n: 85) of stomachs contained prey, of 24 species, including one crustacean, 7 cephalopods, and 16 teleost fishes. According to the %IRI, the three most common components were Dosidicus gigas (66%), Behthosema panamense (30%) and Sthenoteuthis oualanensis (2.9%). The monthly dietary data showed that sharks mainly fed on these three species across all seasons, but the sample sizes were small in some months. Other fish, such as the Pacific sardine Sardinops sagax Jenyns, 1842, hake Merluccius gayi Guichenot, 1848 and squid Loliolopsis diomedeae Hoyle, 1904, were also important prey in some months. [19463]

Circumglobal. Indo-Pacific: Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Maldives [12155], Somalia, South Africa, Western Australia, China, Taiwan, Japan, New Caledonia, Hawaiian Islands and Tahiti. Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California and the Galapagos. Reliable records lacking partly due to its confusion with Alopias vulpinus. Firs record: 2012: Lakshadweep Sea, India (10°52'N latitude 72°13'E longitude) [15389]; 2019: New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, western Pacific Ocean [27359] Source:

Human uses
fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes

Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding on other ova produced by the mother (oophagy) after the yolk sac is absorbed [733] (Ref. 42326). Usually with at least two young [1388]. Size at birth about 100 cm [1388]; 130-160 cm TL [2539]. Distinct pairing with embrace [17086]. A carnivore [17641]. A pelagic species occasionally advancing into coastal waters [17641].

Size / Weight / Age
347 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 48844)); 383 cm TL (female); max. reported age: 29 years (Ref. 48844)

pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous [17660]; marine; depth range 0 - 300 m (Ref. 37816), usually 0 - 150 m (Ref. 55167)

shark-references Species-ID=189; CITES: (see: Protected Species for more details) Convention on International Trade in Endangered Speciesof Wild Fauna and Flora annex: II; Council Regulation 2017/160 annex: B

Parasites (arranged by Jürgen Pollerspöck)
  • Paronatrema sp. [22678]
  • Paronatrema vaginicola Dollfus, 1937 [23771]