The common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) is a species of “mackerel shark” (Lamniformes). This is the same group that contains such animals as the great white, mako, basking, and megamouth, however the thresher is in a different family & genus. This shark has a distinctive elongated upper tail, which it uses for hunting fish & squid. It is a mostly nocturnal, non-aggressive shark that is a very strong swimmer and can even leap out of the water. The common thresher can grow up to 20 feet long.
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Fisheries Resources Division
ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research