Blue Shark, Prionace glauca Click to enlarge image
A Blue Shark, Prionace glauca, at a depth of 10 m, 16 km off the Cape of Good Hope, Western Cape, South Africa, 13 Feb 2016. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    glauca
    Genus
    Prionace
    Family
    Carcharhinidae
    Order
    Carcharhiniformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to around 3.8 m in length.

Introduction

The Blue Shark is the most wide-ranging shark species, being recorded in all tropical and temperate seas. Adult Blue Sharks eat mainly fish and cephalopods such as squid.



Identification

The Blue Shark has a conical snout, a circular eye, and a long pectoral fin.The Blue Shark is recognised by its distinctively coloured slender body with a conical snout, and long, scythe-like pectoral fins. It has five gill slits, a heterocercal tail, large circular eyes and a first dorsal fin that is much larger than the second.

The species is sometimes confused with the Shortfin Mako Shark. The Blue Shark however has smaller gill slits, longer pectoral fins and serrated teeth.


Blue Shark, Prionace glauca
A Blue Shark at a depth of 10m, 16 km off the Cape of Good Hope, Western Cape, South Africa, 13 Feb 2016. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Habitat

The Blue Shark is usually found in water of 12 degrees C to 20 degrees C, and is recorded from the surface to a depth of 350 m.

Distribution

It is the most wide-ranging shark species, being recorded in all tropical and temperate seas, from 50 degrees north to 40 degrees south. In Australia it is recorded from all marine waters except the Arafura Sea, Gulf of Carpentaria and Torres Strait.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



Feeding and diet

Adult Blue Sharks eat mainly fish and cephalopods such as squid.

Life history cycle

Baby Blue Sharks are nourished via a yolk sac placenta, and are born at a length between 35 cm ad 50 cm.

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  3. Stevens, J.D. in Gomon, M.F, C.J.M. Glover & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  4. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  5. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994 Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.
  6. Stevens, J.D. (Ed.) 1987. Sharks. Golden Press. Pp. 240.