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the web of life in southern Africa

Alopias superciliosus (Bigeye thresher)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) >.Chondrichthyes > Elasmobranchii > Galeomorphii > Lamniformes > Alopiidae

Alopias superciliosus (Bigeye thresher) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]


A huge-eyed thresher with an indented forehead, broad-tipped curved pectoral fins, broad caudal tip, and 1st dorsal fin more rearwards than other threshers. Colour dark purplish brown to greyish brown with metalic hues above, somewhat lighter below, no light patch above pectoral bases.


To 4.6 m TL.


East coast off Algoa Bay and off Natal; all temperate and tropical seas.



Oceanic and coastal, sometimes close inshore, surface to 500 m near bottom.


Bears 2 to 4 young. Eats both pelagic and bottom fish and squid.

Human Impact

Rarely caught by anglers and by anti-shark nets, seldom used here.

Text by Leonard J.V. Compagno, David A. Ebert and Malcolm J. Smale