Megamouth Shark

Creature Feature – Megamouth Shark

This week is the letter ‘M’, and today’s featured creature is the Megamouth Shark. 

This species is a large filter-feeding shark found in the deep ocean, and is incredibly rare – going undiscovered until 1976!

Taxonomy

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Order: Lamniformes

Family: Megachasmidea

Genus: Megachasma

© Zola Chen

Megamouth Shark Fact File

? Size: Individuals grow to around 5.5m in length and can weight around 1,250kg. However, it is the smallest of the three species of filter-feeding sharks, behind the whale shark and the basking shark

? Distribution: They are found worldwide, in tropical to temperate waters

? Diet: Little is known about the feeding behaviour or the chosen prey of the. Analysis of stomach contents from dead specimens indicate that they feed on krill, copepods (small crustacean), and deep water jellyfish

? Behaviour: Megamouth sharks live from near the surface to as deep as 4,600m. Like many deep-sea species, believe megamouth sharks only come near the surface at night and spend most of their lives in the dark. Very little is known about the reproduction of these mysterious sharks

? IUCN Status: Least Concern. Like many large species, as commercial fisheries keep pushing to deeper depths, the time between individuals being accidentally caught as becomes shorter