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There are 3 species of threshers.

The other 2 species do not enter the New England area.
They are: the big eye thresher,
Alopias superciliosus, which gets up north as close as Montauk, New York,
and the pelagic thresher,
Alopias pelagicus, which is not in the Atlantic Ocean.
The threshers are one of a few shark species considered to be warm-bodied.
Being warm- bodied translates into being more energetic in cooler water than a cold blooded shark species.
The upper lobe of the tail is almost as long as the body section. This characteristic makes it very easy to
separate the threshers from other shark species.

IGFA Record - 767 lbs. (A. vulpinus)
Maine record - 628 Lbs (A. vulpinus)
Massachusetts record - 548 lbs (A. vulpinus)
Max. size: 10 foot fork length
(19 feet overall, incl. tail)
Max weight: 900 lbs.
Water temp 58-75 degrees.
Thresher Alopias vulpinus
Michael Leonard was taking a nature cruise in August 2002 aboard the schooner Margaret Todd in Bar
Harbor, Maine, when he took this great picture.
Capt. Steven Pagels of Downeast Windjammer Cruises, and Acadia National Park ranger Jack Arnott were
witnesses to the event. The thresher is free jumping something threshers naturally do.

Capt. Bill Brown photo
The thresher gets its name from its abnormally
long tail that it uses to strike or thresh fish.

This bizarre tailed shark is a visitor to our area
although in very small numbers on the north side
of Cape Cod. South of Martha's Vineyard seems
to be an area with many threshers.

Threshers are very fast and occasionally jump
clear out of the water when hooked, or when free
swimming. ----------------------------------------
Family Alopiidae - Thresher sharks
Alopias vupinus - Thresher
Alopias superciliosis- Bigeye Thresher
Alopias pelagicus - Pelagic Thresher

These two photos show the 2 species of thresher
that are on the East Coast of the U.S.A.

The 3rd species of thresher, The pelagic thresher,
Alopias pelagicus, also known as the smalltooth
thresher, is not in the Atlantic Ocean.
This is a bigeye thresher,
Alopias superciliosis, a
species that is not in New
England waters. They do
get a far north as N.Y.
and N.J. There is
always a chance one
might come into our area.
It is easily distinguished
from the thresher we
have in New England, by
its very large eye
and grooves on
its head.
(now a
protected species
release it unharmed

Tim Robertson photo
Alopias vulpinus
This is the species
we have in New
Thresher sharks will free jump
regularly, as seen on the right, and
will also jump when being fought on
rod and reel. Threshers are a
powerful fish and probably the
strongest shark on rod and reel .
Makos are jumpers and runners
and do wild things and are more
dangerous in and out of the water,
but when it comes to pulling power I
believe the thresher is a little

Threshers hit fish and hook baits
with their tail, and in many cases
get themselves tail hooked. This is
a regular occurence with longliners.
Fork Length
750 lbs. 10 feet
657 lbs. 9.5 feet
575 lbs. 9 feet
498 lbs. 8.5 feet
427 lbs. 8 feet
363 lbs. 7.5 feet
305 lbs. 7 Feet
253 lbs. 6.5 feet
207 lbs. 6 feet
Fork Length