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Pelagic Thresher Shark

Alopias pelagicus


A unique Shark with long tails which is as long as their body, they can grow up to 3 meters. This Pelagic Thresher Shark comes to the cleaning station early in the morning and to see them, we do sunrise dive as early as 5:30am. When at the cleaning station, they swim slowly in circles to allow the cleaner fishes to feed on the parasites on their body. When swimming slowly, their long tails sways from side to side. If the divers do not 'approach' them and make sudden movement or exhalation, it is possible for them to get very close to the Divers. Pic#1 was when this friendly Shark swam right directly to me and it actually hit me with its pectoral fin, catching us both by surprise. No harm were done as Thresher Sharks are not known to be aggressive to humans. It was a very memorable encounter as this was the second time in my life getting hit by the pectoral fins of the Thresher Shark.


The pelagic thresher occurs in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, usually far from shore but occasionally entering coastal habitats.


The Pelagic Thresher Sharks usually spend their time in deep waters but over in Monad Shoal, Malapascua Island in Philippines, they can be reliably seen in the shallows especially during early morning. Usually at sunrise, they come to the Cleaning Station to be cleaned by Cleaner Fishes/Wrasses. They can also be seen late morning and even in the afternoon but not so reliably. Sometimes, the smaller Sharks will even breach the surface. Practically, all pictures/videos/footages taken of Thresher Sharks at Monad Shoal are without lightings (strobe/torch lights). This practise is accepted by all Dive Operators as the Sharks being from deep waters, have very light sensitive eyes. It is believed the use of lightings will disturb the Sharks and this may cause them to stay away from the Cleaning Station. However, from time to time, there are Divers, including Professional Underwater Photographers who did not follow this guideline.

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AshleyT 4 years ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

AlbertKang 4 years ago

Thanks, @Hema Shah :)

Thanks too, @Polilla. In Europe, they refer to Thresher Sharks as Fox Shark, maybe you are more familiar with that name?

Hema 4 years ago


Spotted by

Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines

Spotted on Apr 27, 2016
Submitted on May 23, 2016

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