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Alopias pelagicus Nakamura, 1935

Pelagic thresher
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Alopias pelagicus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Alopias pelagicus
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Philippines country information

Common names: Pating, Pelagic thresher
Occurrence: native
Salinity: marine
Abundance: | Ref:
Importance: subsistence fisheries | Ref:
Aquaculture: | Ref:
Regulations: | Ref:
Uses: no uses
Comments: First record of the species; specimens collected from Fish Ports of Cebu and Cadiz cities (Ref. 47736, 47737). Also Ref. 110893.
National Checklist:
Country Information:
National Fisheries Authority:
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: Compagno, L.J.V., P.R. Last, J.D. Stevens and M.N.R. Alava, 2005
National Database:

Common names from other countries

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes(genus, species) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Lamniformes (Mackerel sharks) > Alopiidae (Thresher sharks)
Etymology: Alopias: From alopex, Greek for fox, referring to the ancient vernacular “fox shark,” from its supposed cunning (ancients believed that when it took a bait, it swallowed the hook until it got to the cord, which it bit off and so escaped). (See ETYFish);  pelagicus: Pelagic, (from pelagos, Greek for sea), referring to its “living in the upper layer of the sea,” in contrast to A. profundus [=superciliosus], which Nakamura believed dwelled on the “sea-bottom”). (See ETYFish).

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 300 m (Ref. 106604), usually 0 - 150 m (Ref. 55167).   Tropical; 40°N - 42°S, 16°E - 70°W (Ref. 54277)

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Circumglobal. Indo-Pacific: Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Maldives (Ref. 30829), 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.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 287.0, range 260 - 292 cm
Max length : 428 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 106604); 383.0 cm TL (female); common length : 276 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. ); max. reported age: 29 years (Ref. 48844)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 0. A small thresher with moderately large eyes, a broadly convex forehead, a very narrow caudal tip, and straight, broad-tipped pectoral fins (Ref. 5578). 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 (Ref. 13570). Dark blue on back and sides, underside white; no white patch over pectoral fin bases (Ref. 5578).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Primarily an oceanic species but sometimes close inshore (Ref. 247, 5578, 58302); neritic to oceanic, 0-152 m (Ref. 11230). Epipelagic (Ref. 58302). Mesopelagic in the tropics; may enter atoll lagoons (Ref. 37816). Stuns its prey with its tail, presumably feeding on small fishes and cephalopods (Ref. 6871). Ovoviviparous, embryos feeding on yolk sac and other ova produced by the mother (Ref. 43278, 50449). Sometimes caught by ski-boat anglers (Ref. 5578). Utilized for human consumption, liver oil for vitamin extraction, hides for leather, and fins for shark-fin soup (Ref. 13570). A very common catch in the tuna and shark longline, and tuna drift net fisheries (Ref.58048). Maximum and common size of males estimated from discussion in Ref. 247. Adult females may reach at least 330 cm TL (Ref. 47613).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding on other ova produced by the mother (oophagy) after the yolk sac is absorbed (Ref. 50449, 42326). Usually with at least two young (Ref. 6871). Size at birth about 100 cm (Ref. 6871); 130-160 cm TL (Ref. 58048). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Compagno, Leonard J.V. | Collaborators

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. 123251)

  Endangered (EN) (A2bd); Date assessed: 06 November 2018

CITES (Ref. 123416)

Threat to humans

  Harmless (Ref. 13570)

Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(Fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Common names
Egg development
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


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Internet sources

Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes(genus, species) | DiscoverLife | ECOTOX | Faunafri | Fishtrace | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GloBI | GOBASE | | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | National databases | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | Scirus | SeaLifeBase | Tree of Life | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoobank | Zoological Record

Estimates based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 18.7 - 28.6, mean 26.7 (based on 2246 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804):  PD50 = 0.7500   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01023 (0.00397 - 0.02640), b=2.94 (2.73 - 3.15), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.66 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 120179):  Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Fec=2; tm=7-9; tmax = 29).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  High to very high vulnerability (73 of 100).
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.