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 Blue shark (Prionace glauca)

  Index
> Photo
> Range Map
> Systematics
> Name
> Appearance
> Coloration
> Distribution
> Biology
> Feeding
> Size
> Reproduction
> Similar Species
> Endangerment
> Danger to Humans

 Photo

Blue shark
© Doug Perrine / SeaPics
 Range Map

Earth Map


 Systematics

Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

Class: Carlilagenous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)
  Order: Ground sharks (Carcharhiniformes)
    Family: Requiem sharks (Carcharhinidae)
      Genus: Prionace (Prionace)


 Name

Scientific: Prionace glauca
German: Blauhai
English: Blue shark
French: Peau bleue
Spanish: Tiburón azul


 Appearance

Slender, with long pectoral fins. Narrow head, with a parabolic snout (from dorsoventral view). Big eyes, without posterior notches. No spiracles. Origin of first dorsal fin behind the free ends of pectoral fins. No interdorsal ridge. Small keels on caudal peduncle.

 Coloration

Intense blue upper body, white ventral surface. No color pattern.

 Distribution

Wide ranging, oceanic and epipelagic. Probably the species with the widest range of all sharks. Western Atlantic: Newfoundland to Argentina. Central Atlantic. Eastern Atlantic: Norway to South Africa, Mediterranean. Indo- Western Pacific: South Africa and southern Arabian Sea to Indonesia, Japan, Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand. Central Pacific. Eastern Pacific: Gulf of Alaska to Chile.

 Biology

This species prefers colder waters (7-16°C) but tolerates warmer water too (+21°C). Blue sharks normally swim very slow at the surface but can be found down to a depth of approximately 150 m. Males and females live segregated. Aside from the Oceanic whitetip shark , and the Silky shark , this is probably the most abundant offshore species. Blue sharks seem to migrate clockwise with the Gulf Stream and some have been tagged (marked) in US waters only to be recaught in Spain. Others have been tagged in the Canary Islands and were recaught in Cuban waters.

 Feeding

Feed primarily on small fishes, as well asinvertebrates and carcasses. Blue sharks possess papillose gill rakers, a rare feature among requiem sharks. This may prevent small prey like squid, red crabs, or anchovies from slipping out the internal gill slits, or may be used to feed on plankton too.

 Size

Average size between 250 cm and 300 cm, maximum total length about 380 cm. The weight of blue sharks over 100 cm size can be calculated using the following formula:

weight (lbs) = 10 (-5.396 + 3.134 log length (cm))
weight (kg) = 0.45 (10 (-5.396 + 3.134 log length (cm)))


 Reproduction

Gives birth to live young (viviparous wih a yolksac-placenta). Up to 130 pups per litter but normally between 25 and 50 pups. Pups show a fast growth rate. A possible reason for a fast growth rate may be because they are born in open water with no protection. The high number of pups and no interruption in the reproduction cycle of females seem to support this hypothesis. Blue sharks reach sexual maturity at 5 to 6 years of age and at a size of about 180 cm (males) and 220 cm (females). Females have a much thicker skin than males, approximately 3 times as thick. The thickness exceeds the length of males" teeth so they are not able to penetrate the skin while holding the females with their teeth during copulation. Females can store sperms even in a immature state and can fertilize the eggs in the following spring upon reaching maturity.

 Similar Species

Unmistakable with their long pectoral fins, the slender body and the blue color.

 Endangerment

Status in the IUCN Red List(1994):

Main criterion: > LR/nt (Low Risk/Near Threatened (1994))
Sub criterion:
Trend: Unknown


 Danger to Humans

Seems to be potentielly dangerous, although questionable.



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