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47. Shortfin Mako

Isurus oxyrinchus

About

The Shortfin Mako is the fastest swimming shark species, obtaining speeds of up to 35km/h and can jump up to 6m out of the water!

The shortfin mako is a large, powerful shark found in warm waters across the world. Similar to the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) and other lamnids, being endothermic (having the ability to maintain its body temperature above that of the surrounding water) allows an active lifestyle, and makes this one of the fastest fishes in the sea!

Another shared trait is the reproduction, where embryos feed initially from the egg yolk and then from other eggs. Gestation period can last up to 18 months with reproductive cycles of 2-3 years. Females reach maturity considerably later, and at a greater size than males, at between 18 and 21 years. Almost half their life span!

The major threat to the shortfin mako is overexploitation. It is a valuable shark species and is often retained when caught as bycatch. It is also a popular big-game angling species in New Zealand, South Africa and California. There is currently very little conservation work being done on this species with the EC Regulation No. 1185/2003 banning shark finning being the only protection in place.

  • Order: Lamniformes
  • Family: Lamnidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: Up to 4m (?)
  • Weight: Up to 500kg
  • Depth Range (m): 500m

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.56 (?)
ED Score: 63.91 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct

Distribution

The Shortfin Mako Shark is found worldwide in temperate and tropical seas.

Habitat and Ecology

This species is oceanic, rarely going into the coastal areas. Results from tagging studies show they are often found more than 400km away from their tagging site. This species is also known to make long migrations of up to 5500km, although this is not as common as other shark species. It is a solitary species, but sometimes forms sex separated groups if food is abundant. They feed on fishes as well as other sharks.

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