The Tale of a Tail

From Dr Dirk Schmidt comes an excellent description of how sharks use their tails:

“The large upper terminal dorsal lobe provides a combination of slow speed cruise ability cruise and suddenly to burst into a powerful surge when in pursuit of fast prey. Tails are especially modified to handle and enable different uses such as the Thresher Shark, which feeds on fish and squid and uses its tail to herd prey together and stun it into inactivity with a pistol like a “pistol like crack”. This makes feeding on the disoriented animals far easier. Whereas a Great White uses its tail to explosively accelerate to pursue agile and fast moving prey such as seals. ”

Picture from

“The tails of great white sharks, makos, salmon and porbeagle sharks are almost perfectly symmetrical with the upper and lower lobes being almost mirror images of one another. Partly due to their large, symmetrically shaped tails, reinforced musculature near the tail and torpedo-shaped bodies, these species are among the fastest of all sharks. As is the case with all sharks, the tail of these groups of sharks is an important element, but it is only part of the overall speed and lifestyle, and ability to capture fast moving prey, and achieve amazing bursts of speed, allowing this species to propel itself forward in very short distances, and in the case of white sharks, to breach the surface in spectacular ways.”

Dr Dirk Schmidt

Dr Dirk Schmidt is a a well-respected author and wildlife photographer who has dedicated many years to understanding Great White sharks and their cousins.

If you want to know more about Dr Dirk you can:

Visit his website     Follow him on Twitter     Find him on Facebook

Buy his book ‘White Sharks – Magnificent, Mysterious & Misunderstood’

Whitetip reef sharks (Triaenodon obesus) following scent trail

Now don’t sharks tails look better on sharks? If you agree, please help UK-based shark and marine conservation charity Bite-Back by visiting their website and signing the petition to stop people from bringing large quantities of shark fins into the UK.

Thank you


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s