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the web of life in southern Africa

Prionace glauca (Blue shark)

(Linnaeus, 1758)

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

Prionace glauca (Blue shark) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]


A slim, graceful, blue shark with a long conical snout, large eyes, curved, saw-edged, triangular upper teeth, long narrow pectoral fins, 1st dorsal fin well behind pectorals, and no interdorsal ridge. Upper surface dark blue, sides bright blue, underside white.


To 3.8 m and possibly longer.


Offshore along the entire coast; circumglobal in temperate and tropical seas.



Oceanic but approaching inshore in areas with narrow shelves, surface to over 152 m.


Common, often seen at the surface. Bears up to 135 young. Eats bony fish, including sardines and other herring-like fishes, anchovies, eels, needlefish, sauries, flyingfish, hake and other cod-like fishes, tuna, mackerel, and jacks, also small sharks, squid, pelagic red crabs, cetacean carrion, occasional sea birds, and garbage. Usually fairly timid when approached by divers.

Human Impact

Dangerous to offshore divers and victims of maritime accidents. Occasionally taken by anglers, but mostly caught by offshore longliners.

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