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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Blue sharks are viviparous, giving birth to live young after a gestation period of nine to twelve months (6) (7). Up to 135 pups can be born per litter, partially depending on the size of the female, but the average is 25 to 50 (5) (6). Maturity is reached at approximately five to six years old and blue sharks are known to have lived to 20 years (7). Although often observed cruising slowly and sluggishly the blue shark is capable of rapid movement if it is excited or feeding (6). This species will often circle its prey before moving in to attack it. Blue sharks primarily feed upon relatively small prey, such as bony fish and squid, but will also take larger prey including mammalian carrion (1).
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Description

The blue shark is easily identified by its beautifully coloured slender body, which is a deep indigo-blue across the back, shading to a vibrant blue on the sides, and paling to white underneath (4). This shark has large eyes, triangular teeth, a conical snout, long pectoral fins and a second dorsal fin much smaller than the first (2) (4). While its elongated caudal fin provides swimming power, its sleek, tapered body makes it a graceful mover (5).
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Comprehensive Description

Description

  Common names: shark (English), tiburón (Espanol)
 
Prionace glauca (Linnaeus, 1758)

Blue shark



Very elongate and fusiform; snout long and narrowly rounded; no spiracles; eyes round, with nictitating membrane; teeth serrated, long and triangular, broader and curved on top jaw, center tooth of top jaw very large; 5 short gill slits, last 2 over pectoral base; 1st  dorsal fin low, its origin well behind pectoral fins; no ridge between dorsals; pectorals very long, narrow, slightly curved, pointed tips; tail base with small keel; tail asymmetric, well developed lower lobe, upper lobe notched under tip.


Back dark blue, flanks intense blue; belly white; tip of pectoral and anal dark.

Size: 380 cm.

Habitat: oceanic, epipelagic.

Depth: 0-350 m.

Southern California to the lower 2/3 of the Gulf of California and to Peru, and probably all the oceanic islands.   
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Biology

Oceanic, but may be found close inshore where the continental shelf is narrow (Ref. 6871, 58302). Usually found to at least 150 m (Ref. 26938). Reported from estuaries (Ref. 26340). Epipelagic, occasionally occurs in littoral areas (Ref. 58302). Feeds on fishes (herring, silver hake, white hake, red hake, cod, haddock, pollock, mackerel, butterfish, sea raven and flounders (Ref. 5951)), small sharks, squids, pelagic red crabs, cetacean carrion, occasional sea birds and garbage (Ref. 5578). Viviparous (Ref. 50449). Sexual dimorphism occurs in skin thickness of maturing and adult females (Ref. 49562). May travel considerable distances (one specimen tagged in New Zealand was recaptured 1,200 km off the coast of Chile) (Ref. 26346). Potentially dangerous to humans (Ref. 6871, 13513). Marketed fresh, dried or salted, and frozen; meat utilized for consumption, hides for leather and fins for soup (Ref. 9987). Sexually mature at 250 cm long and 4-5 years old. The female gives birth up to 80 young measuring 40 cm long, gestation lasts almost a year (Ref. 35388). Produces from 4 to 135 young a litter (Ref. 26938).
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Description

 Blue sharks can grow up to 3.8 m long and are easily distinguished by their bright blue dorsal coloration and white underside. Generally, blue sharks have a slender body, long conical snout, long and narrow pectoral fins and a caudal fin with a long upper lobe.The blue shark is often seen cruising slowly at the surface, with its large pectoral fins outspread, and its first dorsal fin and terminal caudal lobe out of the water. It is a viviparous species and the number of young varies from 4 to 135 per litter, with a size at birth around 40 cm. The gestation period is from 9 to 12 months, and possible maximum longevity is around 20 years. Males mature around 180 to 200 cm and females around 220 cm in length.  

The blue shark feeds on relatively small prey, especially squid and bony fishes, though other invertebrates, small sharks, and mammalian carrion is readily taken and seabirds occasionally are caught at the surface of the water. Squid are a very important prey of the blue shark and some species form huge breeding aggregations, which are attended by blue sharks. Much of the prey of the blue shark is pelagic, though bottom fishes and invertebrates figure in its diet also.

 This common oceanic shark is usually caught with pelagic longlines but also pelagic trawls, and even bottom trawls near coasts.
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Newfoundland to Argentina
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Range Description

The Blue Shark is one of the most wide ranging of all sharks, being found throughout tropical and temperate seas from latitudes of about 60°N'50°S. It is oceanic and pelagic, found from the surface to about 350 m depth; occasionally it occurs close inshore where the continental shelf is narrow. The Blue Shark prefers temperatures of 12'20°C and is found at greater depths in tropical waters (Last and Stevens 1994).
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Zoogeography

See Map (including site records) of Distribution in the Tropical Eastern Pacific 
 
Global Endemism: All species, TEP non-endemic, Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans), "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific), All Pacific (West + Central + East), East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West), Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America), East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West)

Regional Endemism: All species, Eastern Pacific non-endemic, Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic, Continent + Island (s), Continent, Island (s)

Residency: Resident

Climate Zone: North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California), Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap), Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos), Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo), South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
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Circumglobal in temperate and tropical waters. Western Atlantic: Newfoundland, Canada to Argentina. Central Atlantic. Eastern Atlantic: Norway to South Africa, including the Mediterranean. Indo-West Pacific: East Africa to Indonesia, Japan, Australia, New Caledonia, and New Zealand. Eastern Pacific: Gulf of Alaska to Chile. Probably the widest ranging chondrichthyian. Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139).
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Geographic Range

The blue shark inhabits tropical, subtropical, and temperate waters worldwide.

Biogeographic Regions: oceanic islands (Native ); indian ocean (Native ); atlantic ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )

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Circumglobal in tropical through temperate seas (including Mediterranean Sea, western Baltic Sea, North Sea, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mascarenes, Hawaiian Islands).
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Cosmopolitan on the high seas in the warmer parts of all the oceans. Including in the western Atlantic: outer Nova Scotia and the banks of Newfoundland; in the eastern Atlantic: England and Scotland with some found at the Orkneys and southern Norway; Mediterranean.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; Compagno, L.J.V., 1984; Claro, R., 1994; Muus, B.J. and J.G. Nielsen, 1999; Smith, C.L., 1997; Whiteheat, P.J.P., M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese, 1984.
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Depth

Depth Range (m): 0 (S) - 350 (S)
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Range

Blue sharks are probably the most wide-ranging and (at least initially) one of the most abundant of all shark species, occurring in temperate and tropical waters from 50°N to 40°S around the globe (2). A migratory species, they periodically travel clockwise around the Atlantic, seemingly riding the Gulf Stream to Europe, taking various currents down the European and African coasts, and riding the Atlantic North Equatorial Current to the Caribbean region (1).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 0
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Physical Description

The blue shark's snout is longer than the width of its mouth. Its pectoral fins are extraordinarily long, approximately the length from the tip of the snout to the last gill slit. The upper teeth are triangular, curved cusps with serrated edges and overlapping bases. Lower cusps are erect and smoother. Color above is a deep indigo shading to a brighter blue on the sides. The undersides are white. Average length is 1.8-2.4m.

Range mass: 30 to 52 kg.

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Size

Length max (cm): 380.0 (S)
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Size

Maximum size: 3850 mm TL
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Max. size

400 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 35388)); max. published weight: 205.9 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 20 years (Ref. 27347)
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to 400.0cm TL; max. weight: 200 kg.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; Compagno, L.J.V., 1984; Claro, R., 1994; Muus, B.J. and J.G. Nielsen, 1999; Smith, C.L., 1997; Whiteheat, P.J.P., M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese, 1984.
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Blue Shark

The heaviest Blue Shark weighed 862LB.

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Diagnostic Description

Description

Lives in the open sea, but may also be found along coastal areas. Prefers cool waters from 7-16° C but tolerates 21° C and more. In tropical offshore areas it occurs at depths of 80-220 m; in warm-temperate areas they occur close to shore and near the surface (Ref. 5485). A scavenger/ predator that feeds mainly on squid, but also on bony fishes, small sharks, pelagic crustaceans, algae, and crustaceans (Ref. 5213). Length of 650 cm is unconfirmed. Marketed fresh, dried/salted and frozen; meat utilized for consumption, hides for leather and fins for soup (Ref. 9987).
  • Anon. (1996). FishBase 96 [CD-ROM]. ICLARM: Los Baños, Philippines. 1 cd-rom pp.
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A slim, graceful blue shark with a long, conical snout, large eyes, and curved triangular upper teeth with saw edges; pectorals long and narrow; no interdorsal ridge (Ref. 5578). Dark blue dorsally, bright blue on the sides, white ventrally (Ref. 5578). Tips of pectoral fins and anal fin dusky (Ref. 9997).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Marine

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Known from seamounts and knolls
  • Stocks, K. 2009. Seamounts Online: an online information system for seamount biology. Version 2009-1. World Wide Web electronic publication.
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nektonic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Prefers waters if 7-16 C, often near surface.
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The Blue Shark reaches a maximum size of about 380 cm TL. About 50% of males in the Atlantic are sexually mature by 218 cm, although some may reach maturity as small as 182 cm. Females are sub-adult from 173?221 cm and fully mature from 221 cm (Pratt 1979), although pregnant fish as small as 183 cm have been recorded from the eastern Pacific (Williams 1977).

Blue Sharks are placentally viviparous, producing litters averaging about 35 (maximum recorded 135) after a gestation period of 9?12 months. At birth the pups are 35?50 cm long. Reproduction has been reported as seasonal in most areas, with the young often born in spring or summer (Pratt 1979, Stevens 1984a, Nakano 1994) although the periods of ovulation and parturition may be extended (Strasburg 1958, Hazin et al. 1994). The skin of females is about three times thicker than that of males to withstand the extensive courtship bites of males. Females can store sperm in their nidamental glands for extended periods, for later fertilisation (Pratt 1979). Ageing studies suggest a longevity of about 20 years with males maturing at 4?6 and females at 5?7 years (Stevens 1975, Cailliet et al. 1983b, Nakano 1994). Smith et al. (1998) estimated the intrinsic rate of population increase at MSY to be 0.061.

Blue Sharks are highly migratory with complex movement patterns and spatial structure related to reproduction and the distribution of prey. There tends to be a seasonal shift in population abundance to higher latitudes associated with oceanic convergence or boundary zones as these are areas of higher productivity. Tagging studies of blue sharks have demonstrated extensive movements of blue sharks in the Atlantic with numerous trans-Atlantic migrations which are probably accomplished by swimming slowly and utilising the major current systems (Stevens 1976, Casey 1985, Stevens 1990). More limited tagging in the Pacific has also shown extensive movements of up to 9,200 km (P. Saul pers. comm.). Substantial data from the North Atlantic on the distribution, movements and reproductive behaviour of different segments of the population suggest a complex reproductive cycle. This involves major oceanic migrations associated with mating areas in the north-western Atlantic and pupping areas in the north-eastern Atlantic (Pratt 1979, Casey 1985, Stevens 1990).

The diet of Blue Sharks consists mainly of small pelagic fish and cephalopods, particularly squid; however, invertebrates (mainly pelagic crustaceans), small sharks, cetaceans (possibly carrion) and seabirds are also taken (Compagno 1984b). While most of the fish prey is pelagic, bottom fishes also feature in the diet. Blue sharks are known to feed throughout the 24-hour period but have been reported to be more active at night, with highest activity in the early evening (Sciarrotta and Nelson 1977).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); marine; depth range 1 - 1000 m (Ref. 89422), usually 80 - 220 m (Ref. 55193)
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This is a pelagic species which inhabits clear, deep, blue waters. It is most commonly found in waters where the depth is greater than 100 fathoms and in a temperature range of 10-20 degrees C(60-68 deg. F).

Aquatic Biomes: benthic ; reef ; coastal

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Depth range based on 12253 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 11381 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 4700
  Temperature range (°C): 1.478 - 27.155
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.165 - 33.615
  Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 36.430
  Oxygen (ml/l): 0.732 - 7.210
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.147 - 2.618
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 80.155

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 4700

Temperature range (°C): 1.478 - 27.155

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.165 - 33.615

Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 36.430

Oxygen (ml/l): 0.732 - 7.210

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.147 - 2.618

Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 80.155
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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 The blue shark is probably the widest ranging shark found in the main oceans and seas of the world, from the surface to at least 400 m depth. Blue sharks are a migratory species.
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Depth: 0 - 350m.
Recorded at 350 meters.

Habitat: pelagic. Blue shark.  (Linnaeus, 1758)  Brilliant bright blue above , white below. Vivaporous; the most fecund of all sharks with 35 -135 pups per litter; born at 50 cm; mature at 2,2 m; Attains 3,5 m.; Scavenger / predator; can be dangerous to man. The well known video footage of a shark attacking the chain clad arm of Valerie Taylor shows this shark. Widespread throughout all major oceans, favours waters with a temperature of 12-16 deg C. In tropical areas found offshore at some depth (80 - 220 m) but occurring close to shore and near surface in warm temperate areas.
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Pelagic; marine; depth range to 350 m. Oceanic, but may be found close inshore where the continental shelf is narrow. Usually found to at least 150 m.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; Compagno, L.J.V., 1984; Claro, R., 1994; Muus, B.J. and J.G. Nielsen, 1999; Smith, C.L., 1997; Whiteheat, P.J.P., M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese, 1984.
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Salinity: Marine, Marine Only

Inshore/Offshore: Offshore Only, Offshore

Water Column Position: Surface, Near Surface, Mid Water, Water column only

Habitat: Water column

FishBase Habitat: Pelagic
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The blue shark is a pelagic species occurring in the open ocean near the surface, inhabiting slightly deeper, cooler waters when in tropical environments (4). Although typically an offshore species, the blue shark may venture inshore, especially at night (1).
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Trophic Strategy

Found worldwide in tropical and temperate seas; a pelagic species, sometimes advancing into coastal waters (Ref. 9137). Occurs on the continental shelf (Ref. 75154). Prefer temperatures of 7-16°C; usually found in deeper waters in the tropics (Ref. 5951). A carnivore (Ref. 9137). Parasites of the species include: Hepatoxylon squali pleurocercoid, Phyllobothrium dagnallium, Phyllobothrium sp. and Platybothrium parvum (Ref. 5951).
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Food Habits

Th blue shark preys primarily upon schooling fishes such as anchovies, sardines, herring etc,. and also squid. It will, however, attack virtually anything, including gill-netted salmon and wounded marine animals.

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Bony fishes, small sharks, squids, pelagic red crabs, cetacean carrion, occasional sea birds and garbage.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; Compagno, L.J.V., 1984; Claro, R., 1994; Muus, B.J. and J.G. Nielsen, 1999; Smith, C.L., 1997; Whiteheat, P.J.P., M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese, 1984.
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Feeding

Feeding Group: Carnivore

Diet: octopus/squid/cuttlefish, Pelagic crustacea, bony fishes, sharks/rays, sea snakes/mammals/turtles/birds
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Diet

Primarily squids and fishes, including herring, silver hake, white hake, red hake, cod, haddock, pollock, mackerel, butterfish, sea raven and flounders
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Life Cycle

Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205). Viviparous (Ref. 26281), placental (Ref. 50449); 4-63 young in a litter (Ref. 9997); 4-135 (usually 15-30) pups (Ref.58048), about 35-44 cm at birth. Gestation period ranges from 9 to 12 months (Ref. 244).Sexual dimorphism is evident in skin thickness of maturing and adult females (Ref. 49562). Females have thicker skin layer than males of the same size (Ref. 49562).
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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
20 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 20 years (wild)
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Reproduction

Blue sharks are viviparous and thought to be the most prolific of the larger sharks. Usually 25-50 pups are born per litter and up to 135 have been reported. Their gestation period lasts 9-12 months. The pups measure 40-51 cm at birth. Maturity is reached at about 2.2 m.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
2190 days.

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Viviparous with up to 80 young in a litter but usually less. Pups are 35 - 45 cm TL at birth; gestation period 9 - 12 months.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; Compagno, L.J.V., 1984; Claro, R., 1994; Muus, B.J. and J.G. Nielsen, 1999; Smith, C.L., 1997; Whiteheat, P.J.P., M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese, 1984.
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Egg Type: Live birth, No pelagic larva
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Prionace glauca

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 33 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CTTTACCTAATTTTTGGTGCATGAGCAGGTATAGTTGGGACAGCCCTA---AGCCTCCTAATTCGAGCTGAACTTGGGCAACCTGGATCTCTTTTAGGAGAT---GATCAGATTTATAATGTAATTGTAACCGCCCACGCTTTTGTAATAATCTTTTTTATGGTTATACCAATCATAATTGGTGGTTTCGGAAATTGACTAGTTCCTTTAATA---ATTGGAGCACCAGATATAGCCTTCCCACGAATAAATAACATAAGCTTCTGACTTCTTCCACCATCATTTCTTCTCCTCCTCGCCTCTGCTGGAGTTGAAGCCGGAGCAGGTACTGGTTGAACAGTTTATCCTCCATTAGCTAGTAACCTAGCACATGCTGGACCATCTGTTGATTTA---GCTATTTTCTCTCTTCACTTAGCCGGTATTTCATCAATTTTAGCTTCAATTAACTTTATTACAACCATTATTAATATAAAACCACCAGCCATTTCCCAATATCAAACACCATTATTTGTTTGATCTATTCTTGTAACCACTATTCTTCTTCTCCTAGCACTTCCAGTTCTTGCAGCA---GGTATTACAATATTACTTACAGATCGTAACCTTAATACTACATTCTTTGACCCTGCAGGTGGAGGAGATCCAATCCTTTATCAGCACTTA
-- end --

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Prionace glauca

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 35
Specimens with Barcodes: 67
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Stevens, J.

Reviewer/s
Musick, J.A. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
This assessment is based on the information published in the 2005 shark status survey (Fowler et al. 2005).

This abundant pelagic and oceanic shark is widespread in temperate and tropical waters. It is relatively fast-growing and fecund, maturing in 4–6 years and producing average litters of 35 pups. The Blue Shark (Prionace glauca) is taken in large numbers (an estimated 20 million individuals annually), mainly as bycatch, but there are no population estimates and many catches are unreported. The few fishery assessments carried out suggest relatively little population decline. There is concern over the removal of such large numbers of this likely keystone predator from the oceanic ecosystem.
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The blue shark is one of the most common and widest-ranging of all sharks.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: near threatened

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IUCN Red List: Listed, Near threatened

CITES: Not listed
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Status

Classified as Lower Risk / Near Threatened (LR/nt) on the IUCN Red List (1).
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Population

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Blue Sharks are rarely target commercial species but are a major bycatch of longline and driftnet fisheries, particularly from nations with high-seas fleets. Much of this bycatch is often unrecorded. Blue sharks are also taken by sport fishermen, particularly in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Periodically, small target fisheries have existed for Blue Sharks such as a seasonal longline fishery for juveniles of 50?150 cm near Vigo, Spain. Some 3t of gutted individuals were observed over a two-day period at Vigo fish market (A. Kingman pers. comm.). A Taiwanese (POC) longline fishery in Indonesian waters took about 13,000 t live weight of blue sharks in 1993 (N. Bentley pers. comm.).

Blue Shark catch rates reported from commercial longlining in the Atlantic Ocean range in average values from 2.9?100 (Stevens and Wayte 1999), while average catch rates as high as 145.0 have been recorded from research longlining (A. da Silva pers. comm.). Stevens (in press) estimated a catch of 137,800 t of Blue Shark from high-seas longline fleets, and 2,300 t from high-seas purse¬seining, in the Pacific in 1994. Bonfil (1994) calculated that 21,152 t of Blue Shark were taken by high-seas driftnet fleets in the Pacific during the 1989?90 period. The annual global catch of blue sharks is likely to be around 20 million individuals.

The limited fishery assessments carried out to date have shown no evidence of a declining trend in catch rates of Blue Sharks with time in the Atlantic or Indian Oceans. However, a 20% decrease was evident in the North Pacific between the periods 1971?1982 to 1983?1993 (Nakano 1996). No consistent decline in catch rates through the fishing season was evident for Japanese longliners fishing in Australian waters (Stevens and Wayte 1999).
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Near Threatened (NT)
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Although blue sharks are among the most abundant, widespread, fecund and faster growing of the sharks, they are one of the most heavily fished sharks in the world. With an estimated 10 to 20 million individuals caught and killed each year, there is concern not only about what this is doing to blue shark populations, but also about the effect the removal of such an important predator might be having on the oceanic ecosystem (1). Blue sharks are one of the most important species in the international shark fin trade. However, their meat, while eaten in a few countries, is not very popular (8). They are also an important angling species in some areas (1).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The 1995 Fisheries Management Plan for pelagic sharks in Atlantic Canada established precautionary catch levels of 250 t for Blue Shark in the target shark fishery. License limitation, a ban on finning, restrictions on gear, area and seasons, bycatch limits and restrictions to recreational fishers permitting hook-and-release only were also implemented (Hurley 1998).

In 1991, Australia brought in legislation that prevented Japanese longliners fishing in the EEZ from landing shark fins unless they were accompanied by the carcass.

Since 1993, shark fisheries in Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico waters in the US have been managed under the Fishery Management Plan for Sharks of the Atlantic Ocean. The plan set commercial quotas for 10 species of pelagic sharks at 580t dressed weight annually, with recreational bag limits also applied. Commercial fishers require an annual shark permit, and finning is prohibited. In Mexico, a high-seas longline fishery taking pelagic sharks was banned within the EEZ in 1990 (Holts et al. 1998).
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Conservation

International obligations that regulate the fishing of sharks include the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, the International Plan of Action for Sharks (IPOA-SHARKS), the United Nations' Agreement on Straddling Stocks and Highly Migratory Species, and the Sustainable Fisheries Act. Although some countries have banned finning, there are no binding international treaties for the management of sharks, including the regulation or outlawing of finning (9). The blue shark is listed on Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (3), which stresses the need for international cooperation in the conservation, management and utilization of living aquatic resources, especially of migratory species. This does not, however, enforce any regulations (9). Fortunately, the blue shark is a prolific species with good rebound potential, and the abundance and wide distribution of this species offers a reasonable buffer against extinction (7).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; price category: medium; price reliability: reliable: based on ex-vessel price for this species
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Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

These sharks become entangled in the nets set for mackeral, pilcher, and salmon. It has been known to attack humans, air and sea disaster victims in particular.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The blue shark is a game fish and will readily take surface bait. A commercial fishery for blues has been developed on the west coast.

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Wikipedia

Blue shark

The blue shark (Prionace glauca) is a species of requiem shark, in the family Carcharhinidae, that inhabits deep waters in the world's temperate and tropical oceans. Preferring cooler waters,[3] blue sharks migrate long distances, such as from New England to South America.

Although generally lethargic, they can move very quickly. Blue sharks are viviparous and are noted for large litters of 25 to over 100 pups. They feed primarily on small fish and squid, although they can take larger prey. Blue sharks often school segregated by sex and size, and this behavior has led to their nickname "wolves of the sea".[citation needed] Maximum lifespan is still unknown, but it is believed that they can live up to 20 years. [4]

Anatomy and appearance[edit]

Illustration of madahonus halamanus.

Blue sharks are light-bodied with long pectoral fins. Like many other sharks, blue sharks are countershaded: the top of the body is deep blue, lighter on the sides, and the underside is white. The male blue shark commonly grows to 1.82 to 2.82 m (6.0 to 9.3 ft) at maturity, whereas the larger females commonly grow to 2.2 to 3.3 m (7.2 to 10.8 ft) at maturity.[5] Large specimens can grow to 3.8 m (12 ft) long. Occasionally, an outsized blue shark is reported, with one widely printed claim of a length of 6.1 m (20 ft), but no shark even approaching this has been confirmed in this species.[5] The Blue Shark is fairly elongated and slender in build and typically weighs from 27 to 55 kg (60 to 121 lb) in males and from 93 to 182 kg (205 to 401 lb) in large females.[6][7][8] Occasionally, a female in excess of 3 m (9.8 ft) will weigh over 204 kg (450 lb). The heaviest reported weight for the species was 391 kg (862 lb).[9] The blue shark is also ectothermic.

Reproduction[edit]

Back of blue shark

They are viviparous, with a yolk-sac placenta, delivering 4 to 135 pups per litter. The gestation period is between 9 and 12 months. Females mature at 5 to 6 years of age and males at 4 to 5. Courtship is believed to involve biting by the male, as mature specimens can be accurately sexed according to the presence or absence of bite scarring. Female blue sharks have adapted to the rigorous mating ritual by developing skin 3 times thicker than male skin.[3]

Ecology[edit]

Range and habitat[edit]

The blue shark is an oceanic and epipelagic shark found worldwide in deep temperate and tropical waters from the surface to about 350 meters.[10] In temperate seas it may approach shore where it can be observed by divers, while in tropical waters it inhabits greater depths. It lives as far north as Norway and as far south as Chile. Blue sharks are found off the coasts of every continent, except Antarctica. Its greatest Pacific concentrations occur between 20° and 50° North but with strong seasonal fluctuations. In the tropics it spreads evenly between 20° N and 20° S. It prefers waters with a temperature range of 7–16 °C (45–61 °F) but will tolerate temperatures of 21 °C (70 °F) or above. Records from the Atlantic show a regular clockwise migration within the prevailing currents.[3]

Feeding[edit]

Squid are important prey for blue sharks, but their diet includes other invertebrates such as cuttlefish and pelagic octopuses, as well as lobster, shrimp, crab, a large number of bony fishes, small sharks, mammalian carrion and occasional sea birds. Whale and porpoise blubber and meat have been retrieved from the stomachs of captured specimens and they are known to take cod from trawl nets.[3] The sharks have been observed and documented working together as a "pack" to herd prey into a concentrated group from which they can easily feed. Blue sharks rarely eat tuna, which have been observed taking advantage of the herding behavior to opportunistically feed on escaping prey. It is interesting to note that the observed herding behavior was undisturbed by different species of shark in the vicinity that normally would pursue the common prey.[11] The blue shark can swim at fast speeds, allowing it to catch up to prey easily. Triangular teeth allows the Blue shark to easily catch slippery prey.

Predators[edit]

Adult blue sharks do not suffer predation on a regular basis, except by killer whales. Young and smaller individuals may get eaten by larger sharks such as the great white shark and the tiger shark. This shark may host several species of parasites. For example, the blue shark is the definite host of the tetraphyllidean tapeworm, Pelichnibothrium speciosum (Prionacestus bipartitus). It becomes infected by eating intermediate hosts, probably opah (Lampris guttatus) and/or longnose lancetfish (Alepisaurus ferox).[12]

Relationship to humans[edit]

It is estimated that 10 to 20 million of these sharks are killed each year as a result of fishing. The flesh is edible, but not widely sought after; it is consumed fresh, dried, smoked and salted and diverted for fishmeal. There is a report of high concentration of heavy metals (Hg, Pb) in the edible flesh. [13] The skin is used for leather, the fins for shark-fin soup and the liver for oil.[3] Blue sharks are occasionally sought as game fish for their beauty and speed.

Blue sharks rarely attack humans. From 1580 up until 2013 the blue shark has been implicated in only 13 attacks upon humans, four of which ended fatally. [14]

In captivity[edit]

Blue sharks, like most pelagic sharks, tend to fare poorly in captivity. Attempts at keeping them using circular tanks with long glide paths, and pools with 3 meters (9.8 ft) central depth gently ascending to zero depth have met with mixed results at best; most specimens last less than 30 days. As with other pelagic sharks, they seem to have trouble avoiding walls or other obstacles. In 1969 at Sea World San Diego, several blue sharks were put in circular tanks (15 m diameter, 2.1 m deep) for three months. The blue sharks did fairly well until bull sharks were added to the tank; the bull sharks ate the blue sharks. The captivity record for blue sharks as of 2008 was held by The New Jersey Aquarium for a specimen that lasted roughly 7 months before expiring of an apparent bacterial infection.[15]

See also[edit]

For a topical guide to this subject, see Outline of sharks.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sepkoski, Jack (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera (Chondrichthyes entry)". Bulletins of American Paleontology 364: 560. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  2. ^ Stevens (2005). "Prionace glauca". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Leonard J. V. Compagno (1984). Sharks of the World: An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. pp. 521–524, 555 – 61, 590. 
  4. ^ Sharks, Emerging Species Profile Sheets, published by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; undated
  5. ^ a b FLMNH Ichthyology Department: Blue Shark. Flmnh.ufl.edu. Retrieved on 2012-12-19.
  6. ^ Blue Shark (Prionace glauca) – Ireland's Wildlife. Irelandswildlife.com (2011-07-21). Retrieved on 2012-12-19.
  7. ^ Sharks – Greenland (Somniosus microcephalus), Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), Blue Shark (Prionace glauca), Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus), and Porbeagle (Lamna nasus). fishaq.gov.nl.ca
  8. ^ Sea Angling in Ireland – Blue Shark. Sea-angling-ireland.org (2006-10-21). Retrieved on 2012-12-19.
  9. ^ Summary of Large Blue Sharks Prioncae glauca (Linnaeus, 1758) in progress. elasmollet.org (March 2008)
  10. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Prionace glauca" in FishBase. 9 2006 version.
  11. ^ Monique, Fallows (29 January 2013). "Blue Sharks Feeding on Anchovy Baitball". Apex Predators Blog. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  12. ^ Scholz, Tomáš; Euzet, Louis; Moravec, František (1998). "Taxonomic status of Pelichnibothrium speciosum Monticelli, 1889 (Cestoda: Tetraphyllidea), a mysterious parasite of Alepisaurus ferox Lowe (Teleostei: Alepisauridae) and Prionace glauca (L.) (Euselachii: Carcharinidae)". Systematic Parasitology 41 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1023/A:1006091102174. 
  13. ^ Lopez, S., Abarca, N., Meléndez, R., Heavy Metal Concentrations of two highly migratory sharks (Prionace glauca and Isurus oxyrinchus)in the southeastern Pacific waters: comments on public health and conservation. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 6 (1) 126-137, 2013. Read more at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0318-kimbrough-tcs-sharks.html#oW2do4oAQLssXMSk.99
  14. ^ https://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks/statistics/species3.htm
  15. ^ Blue Shark (Prionace glauca) in Captivity. elasmollet.org (2007)
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