Physical Description

  • A large, graceful, slim shark with large eyes.
  • Usually dark blue in color with unmistakably long pectoral (side) fins.
  • Name comes from their blue coloration, unique among sharks.
  • Males reach a maximum length of 12 feet but usually around 9 feet in length.
  • Females reach a length of 7 feet in length.
  • Mature females often have bite scars from mating.


  • Distribution throughout worldwide oceans.


  • Live in temperate and tropical seas.
  • Found in the open ocean far from the coasts.


  • During most of year males and females live in different regions of ocean.
  • Travel long distances to come together briefly during mating season.
  • Mating is via internal fertilization.
  • Males may bite females aggressively during mating so females have thick protective skin.
  • Females give birth to live young after 9-12 months.
  • Litters can be up to 100 pups, though rarely that large.


  • Primarily small squid, as well as crustaceans, small to large fish, seabirds, and even other, smaller species of sharks.


  • Orcas, larger sharks, such as the great white shark and shortfin mako shark.

Interesting Facts

  • Blue sharks are possibly the most wide-ranging shark in the world.
  • The blue shark can travel tens of thousands of miles in a year, and can travel across whole ocean basins multiple times in their lifetime.
  • They use their large pectoral fins to ride the currents to conserve energy while migrating.

Sources: Sharks of the World: An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date; Oceana; Newfoundland Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture; NOAA SWFSC;

Photo: Walter Heim