Thresher sharks known in Dhivehi as ‘kandi miyaru’ (translated to sword shark) are a rare but majestic sightings in Fuvahmulah. They are large lamniform sharks from the family Alopiidae. The first person to ever write about thresher sharks was Aristotle in the book Historia Animalia. In his book, Aristotle claims that thresher sharks are able to bite through fishing lines to escape. They will also temporarily swallow their young to protect them from predators. Both of these behaviours are obviously now scientifically inaccurate. However, it lead Aristotle to praise the high level of intelligence and cunningness of the shark likening them to the fox. This ultimately leads to the name Alopex, meaning fox in Greek.
Shark Watching and Shark Diving in Maldives
Thresher sharks have a very distinctive long upper caudal fin or heterocercal tail. Their tails can measure as much as half the length of their body. In adulthood, their tails can be as long as 10 feet (3 m). The common name thresher shark had derive from the distinctive thresher or scythe like shape of the tail. The sharks use their long tails as a weapon to stun prey.
Although, they are apex predators they are not a threat to divers. There have only been one attack on a person on record in the world. Unfortunately, the diver was provoking the shark by grabbing its tail. Thresher sharks are afraid of humans and for the most part, they will swim away the moment they see a diver. On the contrary, humans are the bigger threat to thresher sharks. They are hunted for their unique tails and as by catch in commercial tuna fishing as they hunt schooling fish. As a result, they are on the World Conservation Union list of vulnerable to extinction since 2007. Maldives bans all forms of shark fishing since 2010 and continues to protect all shark species, including thresher sharks.
Here’s a quick guide to our Fuvahmulah diving sites.
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