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Megamouth Shark – Megachasma pelagios

 Megamouth Shark

Facts about Megamouth Sharks

The megamouth shark is one you won’t readily see when you are in the water. It is rarely seen and it has only been in the past 30 years that it has even been recognized as a species of shark. The first one was spotted around Hawaii. They have also been spotted around Japan in recent years. Other sightings have taken place in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans though so they are out there.

Since they are so rarely seen it isn’t uncommon for thrill seekers to do their best to find them. They know pictures of them as well as videos will be worth a great deal of money to researchers. There isn’t any information relating to how they interact with humans though so you need to be careful.

Facts about the Megamouth Shark

The megamouth shark is considered to be one of the most rare forms of sharks out there. They aren’t often seen by people and that can lead one to wonder if they have decent numbers or not. Only 54 of them have been seen and documented with only 3 of them captured on film.

They weren’t discovered until 1975 when a navy ship accidentally found one caught up in their anchor. Yet it wasn’t until 1983 that it was proven to actually exist. In fact, since the early sighting it was rumored to be just a hoax by the military in an effort to gain attention.

Meals for a Megamouth Shark

This is one of the three types of sharks that are filter feeders. They have uniquely designed jaws and gills for it. The water and anything in it is taken into the mouth. Then it is filtered out by grates around the gills. They water is pushed back out with the various debris found in it consumed.

Filter feeders help to keep the water clean for all aquatic life. There also never seems to be a lack of food available for such sharks. They really enjoy it though when they are able to get some jellyfish or plankton in there too. In fact they will likely surf areas known for such creatures first so they can get the food source they really want before they take what they can get.

Anatomy of Megamouth Sharks

One of the most distinct features of the megamouth shark is the head. It is many times larger than other species. It doesn’t seem to be in proportion to the rest of the body either. It also has lips that are different from anything you have seen before. They help with the process of filter feeding.

There isn’t very many pictures of the megamouth shark though so being able to readily identify other characteristics of it are very difficult. They do have a small dorsal fin and a slightly tipped tail though to help with balance as they move in the water. They are believed to be brownish in color. Based on what has been seen though they are believed to be from 13 to 16 feet in length. They are also believed to get up to 2,700 pounds.

Reproduction of Megamouth Sharks

There isn’t very much information known about the reproduction of the megamouth shark. What is known is that the females carry eggs inside of them with the pups until they are ready to hatch. The estimated number of pups per litter isn’t known.

The Future of Megamouth Sharks

Conservation status: Data deficient

The future of the megamouth shark remains mystifying. Since we don’t really know how many of them exist it is extremely difficult to calculate how many of them there are. Scientists believe they have healthy numbers though and that they are quite versatile so they can easily survive. More research has to be done but finding these sharks can prove to be difficult.




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May 2016
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