|S. Oliver, et al. - Thresher shark tail snap kinematics|
Further on in the article, it is noted that a previous study on the common thresher (different than the pelagic thresher) showed that these used a sideways strike with their tail to hit bait. The sideways hit is interesting, fisherman have hooked thresher sharks by the tail for years and assumed that they were using their tails to herd or stun prey.
In the pelagic thresher study, they did see and hear of sideways hits, but side strikes were used much less frequently and only when the shark was swimming alongside a bait ball, rather than accelerating straight in.
|S. Oliver, et al. - Thresher shark side snap kinematics|
For the very readable BBC article with some great video and images, check out - BBC:Thresher sharks stun prey with tail slaps - by V. Gill
The full scholarly article on the pelagic thresher behavior is available via the open accss Plos One journal. Go to: Thresher Sharks Use Tail-Slaps as a Hunting Strategy by SP Oliver, JR Turner, K Gann, M Silvosa and T D'Urban Jackson.
|S. Oliver, et al. - Thresher shark images and video link|
The side strike behavior of the common thresher can be seen here: Shark mystery solved - why threshers have huge tails - again, excellent video and article. The research this was taken from is available via a restricted access journal, but if your library gives you access, see:
The functional role of the caudal fin in the feeding ecology of the common thresher shark Alopias vulpinus by SA Aalbers, D Bernal, CA Sepulveda.