The common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) is a fast-swimming shark with a unique appearance. It aggressively pursues schooling fish such as herring and mackerel and occasionally squid, which it stuns with long, scythe-like tail. In Atlantic Canada, the common thresher shark is sometimes observed leaping out of the water as it attacks its prey.
The common thresher shark is found worldwide although it prefers cooler temperatures. It has been documented for centuries¹ close to shore and in the open ocean during its seasonal migration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Scientific name: Alopias vulpinus
Common names: Common thresher shark, Atlantic thresher, grayfish, green thresher, long-tailed shark, sea ape, sea fox, slasher, swiveltail, thintail thresher, thrasher shark, whiptail shark.
Mi’kmaw names: Sabbede-mequ, siglati, tan booskekŭlooskăbāwit’, webetŭmâk’, wipitmeqw.
French common names: Requin-renard commun
Vulpinus is derived from the Latin vulpes meaning ‘fox.’