This month we're showcasing the beautiful and bold Blue Shark – named for its dazzling colour.

The Blue Shark is sleek and agile, with a long slender body. They have a distinctive cone shaped snout and large endearing eyes.

Dark blue on top with a white belly, their flanks are a magnificent metallic blue. Being darker on top and lighter underneath is an effective camouflage strategy known as counter shading, which is used by many shark species. Concealed from above and below, they’re able to both hide from predators, and sneak up on their prey in the open ocean.

The first part of their scientific name (Prionace) is derived from Greek – with ‘prion’ meaning ‘saw’ and ‘akis’ meaning ‘pointed’. This refers to their sharp and serrated triangular teeth, which are used for gripping hold of slippery prey, such as fish and squid. While glauca is Latin for ‘blueish grey’.

The most wide-ranging of all sharks, Blue Sharks can be found worldwide, except in very cold waters. Inquisitive by nature, they’ll often check out divers and come in close for photos. While this may seem like they’re being photogenic, they are actually attracted to the electro-magnetic fields that cameras emit.

Highly migratory, they travel in large groups made up of the same sex, or similarly sized, individuals. These groups have a hierarchy similar to that of a wolf pack. For most of the year, males and females live completely separate lives - only gathering for a brief time to mate.

Blue Sharks give birth to litters of 4-135 pups (average 35) after 9-12 months. They mature at around 4-6 years old and are thought to live ~20 years.

Travelling vast distances in search of food, Blue Sharks are the most migratory of all sharks. They carry out a clockwise migration pattern around the Atlantic, covering a distance of over 5,700 miles (9,200 km) each year!

Following the Gulf Stream, they travel from the Caribbean along the coast of the United States, and then across to Northwest Europe and West Africa. Before returning to the Caribbean on the North Atlantic Equatorial Current. Some even cross from the North to the South Atlantic. Their long paddle-like pectoral fins are thought to help them ride ocean currents, enabling them to conserve energy during their long travels.

Blue Sharks are preyed upon by larger sharks, but by far, their biggest threat comes from overfishing.

Every migration they run the gauntlet of Spanish and Portuguese longline fisheries in the Atlantic. Here, they’re taken in high volume as bycatch. Although widespread with a relatively high reproductive rate, Blue Sharks are the most heavily fished shark and declines have been observed.

Blue Sharks have long been the star of our No Limits? campaign as they have urgently required science-based management, before they follow the trajectory of other unmanaged species. Just last year, they finally received the first ever international catch limits, which were set in the North and South Atlantic.

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Prionace glauca

  • FAMILY:  Carcharhinidae

  • MAXIMUM SIZE: 3.8m

  • DIET: Opportunistic feeders. Diet predominately small fishes and squid, but will also eat cuttlefish, lobster, shrimp, carrion and sea birds.

  • DISTRIBUTION: All temperate and tropical waters. In tropical waters they’re found much deeper, where it’s cooler.

  • HABITAT: Often found in the open ocean from the surface to depths of 600m. Prefers temperatures of 12-20°C but can tolerate 8–30°C.

  • CONSERVATION STATUS: Near Threatened

Related Links:

► Find out how you can support our No Limits? Campaign and help stop uncontrolled fishing of vulnerable sharks.

► Check out more incredible sharks and rays covered in our Creature Features

► Discover more fin-tastic facts by visiting our Discover Sharks section

Banner image © Paul Colley