Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Lamniformes
(Mackerel sharks) > Alopiidae
Etymology: Alopias: Greek, alopex = fox (Ref. 45335); vulpinus: Named comes from the Latin 'vulpes' meaning fox (Ref. 6885).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 650 m (Ref. 106604), usually 0 - 200 m (Ref. 55168). Subtropical; 74°N - 58°S, 180°W - 180°E (Ref. 54279)
Cosmopolitan in temperate and tropical seas (Ref. 6871, 58085). Population considered reduced (R) in the US Atlantic waters; lower risk/conservation dependent (LR/CD) in US Pacific waters; data deficient (DD) in the rest of Atlantic and rest of Pacific (Ref. 12451). Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139).
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 303.0, range 226 - 400 cm
Max length : 573 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 106604); 549.0 cm TL (female); common length : 450 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5217); max. published weight: 348.0 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 25 years (Ref. 81241)
soft rays: 0. A large thresher with relatively small eyes, curved, narrow-tipped pectoral fins, a narrow-tipped caudal fin, and a conspicuous white patch over the pectoral fin bases (Ref. 5578). Second dorsal origin well behind the rear tip of the pelvic fin (Ref. 559). Upper lobe of caudal fin very long and strap-like, about as long as or longer than length of rest of shark; lower lobe short but well developed (Ref. 13570). Brown, grey, blue-grey, or blackish on back and underside of snout, lighter on sides and abruptly white below; a white area extends from the abdomen over the pectoral-fin bases; pectoral-, pelvic-, and dorsal fins blackish, white dots sometimes present on pectoral-, pelvic-, and caudal- fin tips (Ref. 13570).
Coastal over continental and insular shelves and epipelagic far from land (Ref. 30573, 43278, 58302). Oceanic although most abundant near land, pelagic at 1-366 m (Ref. 58302). Young often close inshore and in shallow bays (Ref. 5578). Feeds on schooling fishes (including mackerels, bluefishes, clupeids, needlefishes, lancetfishes and lanternfishes), squid, octopi, pelagic crustaceans, and rarely seabirds (Ref. 247). Ovoviviparous, embryos feeding on yolk sac and other ova produced by the mother (Ref. 43278, 50449). Uses its long caudal fin to bunch up and stun prey (Ref. 2850). Spatial and depth segregation by sex in northwestern Indian Ocean populations (Ref. 247). A few attacks on boats are doubtfully attributed to this species, but it is otherwise apparently harmless to humans, though the size of adults of this species command respect (Ref. 247). May cause damage to fishing gear (Ref. 6885). Valued for its meat, liver, hide, and fins; utilized fresh, dried-salted, smoked, and frozen (Ref. 9987).
Ovoviviparous, embryos feed solely on the ova produced by the mother after the yolk sac is absorbed (oophagy) (Ref. 50449), 2 to 4 young in a litter (usually 2) (Ref. 247). Size at birth 114-150 cm (Ref. 247). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205).
Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/1):1-249. Rome, FAO. (Ref. 247)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 119314)
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 11.6 - 28.2, mean 23.3 (based on 8352 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.7500 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00832 (0.00358 - 0.01934), b=2.86 (2.66 - 3.06), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.5 ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.1; tm=5-7; tmax=19; Fec=2-4).
Prior r = 0.05, 95% CL = 0.01 - 0.18, Based on 2 stock assessments.
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High to very high vulnerability (73 of 100) .