This video says about itself:
Jul 10, 2013
Thresher sharks strike sardines with their tails. “Video provided by Klemens Gann and The Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project“.
Australian Geographic writes about this:
Astonishing hunting strategy of thresher sharks
By: John Pickrell | July-11-2013
BLAM! Thresher sharks strike to kill with their scythe-like tails, as seen in new video footage.
THRESHER SHARKS HAVE incredibly long, scythe-like tails that make up more than half their up-to-6m body length. Experts had long suspected that they used these tails as part of a hunting strategy to strike at prey, but it had never been confirmed.
Researchers led by Dr Simon Oliver, at the University of Liverpool in the UK, used underwater video cameras to record 25 instances of thresher shark hunting behaviour between June and October 2010. In many of these cases the sharks would speed in and then brake suddenly, flicking their powerful tails over their heads to slam them into the shoals (see video, above).
“This extraordinary story highlights the diversity of shark hunting strategies in an ocean where top predators are forced to adapt to the complex evasion behaviours of their ever declining prey,” says Simon.
Thresher sharks display predatory tail strike
Incredibly, Simon’s team found that these tail slaps could lash out at up to 80km/h. The speed was such that ‘supercavitation’ bubbles would occur behind the moving tail tip, as a wave of low pressure caused water in the immediate vicinity to spontaneously boil. Some sardines were hit directly in the attacks, while others were killed by the pressure wave.
Not all strikes were successful but when they were, up to seven fish were killed in one hit and then the thresher shark could circle to pick them up at its leisure.
“While it has long been suspected that thresher sharks hunt with their tails, little was previously known about the behaviour in the wild,” write Simon and his co-authors today in the journal PLoS One. “The evidence is now clear; thresher sharks really do hunt with their tails… Tail-slapping is an efficient strategy for hunting schooling prey since thresher sharks are able to consume more than one prey item at a time.”
Dolphins and killer whales were already known to use tail-slaps to corral and stun fish, but this behaviour has never been seen in a shark before. Sperm whales and humpback whales employ tail slaps to communicate over great distances.
See also here.
Ultimate guide to Australian sharks: here.
A remarkable photograph of the live birth of a thresher shark has cast light on the lives of these elusive, vulnerable fish. The image, taken during a research dive in 2013 and now published in the journal Coral Reefs, is believed to be the first record of a birth in this species: here.
- Thresher Sharks Use Their Tails as Whips To Stun or ‘Slap’ Prey To Death (WATCH) (hngn.com)
- Thresher sharks use their tails like bullwhips to kill or stun prey (guardian.co.uk)
- Sharks stun prey with overhead kick (bbc.co.uk)
- Thresher Sharks Stun Prey with Tail-Slaps [Video] (natureworldnews.com)
- Thresher Sharks Use Tails as Weapons to Stun Prey [VIDEO] (scienceworldreport.com)
- Thresher sharks stun sardine prey with tail-slaps (scienceblog.com)
- Fish-Slapped! Thresher Sharks Stun Sardines With Speedy Tails (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- This shark’s deadly at both ends – New Zealand Herald (nzherald.co.nz)
- Alopias pelagicus: The Thresher Shark’s Tail-Whip (enteroctopusdofleini.wordpress.com)