Does the megamouth shark still exist?

The megamouth shark is a rare, large species, reaching weights up to 2700 pounds. It is the smallest of the three filter-feeding sharks, behind the whale shark and the basking shark. The megamouth shark gets its name from its remarkably large, circular mouth. It has a brownish-black colour on top, is white underneath, and has an asymmetrical tail with a long upper lobe, similar to a thresher shark’s tail. The interior of its gill slits are lined with finger-like gill rakers that capture plankton, its main food.

In 1990, a caught and tagged megamouth shark in California was followed for two days. Its pattern of staying at 50 feet depth at night, then diving to 500 feet at dawn shows it vertically migrates over 24 hours. Even large species can remain undiscovered in the deep sea.

In July 2007, a 400 cm long, 450 kg megamouth shark was caught off Japan’s coast. The life expectancy remains unknown. Growth rings on vertebrae determine observed lifespans.

In 2022, a pregnant female washed ashore in the Philippines. At 16.4 feet long and 882 pounds, its belly contained shrimp larvae caught via its approximately 3.5 foot wide mouth. Though rarely seen, under 100 specimens have been observed or caught since discovery in 1976. Protecting megamouth habitat contributes to ocean health and biodiversity.

Is megamouth shark aggressive?

The megamouth shark gets its name from the remarkably large, circular mouth. They have a stout build with a flabby body which tapers off towards the posterior end – contributing to these sharks being poor swimmers. Their bulbous heads give them an appearance of a small orca. Megamouth sharks are darker dorsally, brownish-black, dark blue, or gray, while lighter ventrally.

The megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) is a species of deepwater shark rarely seen by humans and is the smallest of the three extant filter-feeding sharks alongside the whale shark and basking shark. The main difference between a megamouth shark and a great white shark is that megamouth sharks are deepwater filter feeders, while great whites are surface-dwelling apex predators.

Scientists have recorded these sharks around ninety-nine times. But, it’s very likely that more encounters that have gone unrecorded have occurred. Since its discovery in 1976, fewer than 100 specimens have been observed or caught. The first megamouth shark was captured in 1976 off the coast of Hawaii entangled in cables.

Scientists believe that the megamouth shark is probably slow moving and not aggressive and therefore unlikely to pose a threat to people in the water. The megamouth is considerably less active than the other filter-feeding sharks. Additional information about the megamouth shark can be found at the provided sources.

Why is the megamouth shark so rare?

The megamouth shark inhabits the ocean depths. Sighting a megamouth shark is rare. As per records till March 2018, only 99 specimens had been either caught or sighted. They retreat to the ocean depths in response to small disturbances. This could be a possible reason why we haven’t found more of them.

The megamouth shark was first discovered in 1976 entangled in cables by a US navy research vessel near Oahu, Hawaii. More were found in the higher latitudes in the summer, so it is suggested that there are seasonal latitudinal migrations.

The megamouth shark is known for its large head, unusually large lips and oral cavity – which it swims with wide open, catching krill, plankton and jellyfish. It grows up to 7 metres in length and is a filter feeder, alongside the whale shark and basking shark.

Since the first individual was caught back in 1976, only about 100 of them have been caught, with only a few being examined.

The megamouth shark spends most of its life in the dark depths of the ocean, only coming to the surface at night.

In July 2007 a megamouth shark was caught off the coast of Japan. It measured 400 cm in length and weighed 450 kilograms.

The megamouth shark is not targeted by commercial fishers, but it is often sold when captured accidentally. It is likely naturally very rare.

Is a basking shark the same as a megamouth shark?

The basking shark is the second-largest living shark and fish, after the whale shark. Typically, basking sharks reach 7.9 m (26 ft) in length. The megamouth shark is related to them, though it is the smallest of the three supersized species. In fact, even the largest megamouth sharks, which can be around 25 feet long, are half the size of the basking shark. What we do know is just like their cousins the basking shark and the whale shark, the megamouth shark eats small organisms by filtering them into their mouths.

The whale shark is an endangered species found in most of the world’s tropical waters. Like the megamouth sharks and the basking shark, whale sharks are filter feeders and their diet consists almost exclusively of plankton. The largest individuals can weigh over 30 tonnes.

Unlike whale sharks and megamouth sharks, basking sharks cannot suck water through their gills to feed. They can only force plankton-rich water into their mouths by swimming.

The Megamouth shark grows up to 7 metres in length and is a filter feeder, alongside the whale shark and basking shark. The megamouth shark is known for its large head, unusually large lips and oral cavity – which it swims with wide open, catching krill, plankton and jellyfish.

Whale Sharks usually grow bigger than Basking Sharks. However, both species can hit even more impressive sizes. The average fully-grown Whale Shark measures around 30–33’ long, while Basking Sharks are generally in the 20–26’ range.

One of the rarest species of sharks is the megamouth shark. This is a species of deep-water shark that has rarely been seen. As its name suggests, this shark has a mega mouth.