The blue shark is a type of requiem shark that lives in the open ocean. Blue sharks occur worldwide in deep waters from the surface to about 350 meters (1,150 feet). The body is dark blue above, bright blue on the sides, and white below. The snout is long and narrow and the body is slender. The eyes are large and the pectoral fins are long and pointed. Blue sharks grow up to 4 meters (13 feet) long.
Blue sharks feed on bony fish, such as herring, sardines, and anchovies, as well as squid and crustaceans. Females give birth to live young with litters from 4 to 135 young, but most average 20 to 40. Mating occurs between late spring and early winter. The gestation period is from nine to 12 months. Southern California is a major nursery area for blue sharks. Males become mature at four to five years of age and females at five to six years of age.
It is estimated that up to 20 million blue sharks are killed each year as a result of fishing. The meat is consumed, the skin is used for leather, the fins are used for shark-fin soup, and the liver for oil. The blue shark is classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
To learn more about blue sharks and their relatives, visit the Sharks & Rays Room at the Aquarium.