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The Megamouth Shark!

Updated on December 15, 2012
The Megamouth shark filter feeding
The Megamouth shark filter feeding | Source
The Megamouth's head, showing its rubbery lips
The Megamouth's head, showing its rubbery lips | Source

The Megamouth Shark!

Questionably the world's most unusual shark, the Megamouth (Megachasma Pelagious), wasn't discovered until 1976. It's mouth can reach up to three feet across, and the rest of the body about 16 feet long. Only 14 Megamouths have ever been seen, or recorded at least. This shark shouldn't be harmful to humans because as like the Basking and Whale shark, it is a filter feeder and swims with its enormous mouth wide open. It is distinctive because of its large head and rubbery lips. The Megamouth is so different to other sharks, as it belongs to its own family, the Megachasmedae, though it has been suggested that it may actually belong to the Cetorhinidae of which the basking shark is the sole member.

A 16 foot male Megamouth was caught in 1990 near the surface off Dana Point,California. It was eventually released with a radio tag attached to its body. The tag relayed the sharks depth and speed over a two day period. In the day, he swam at a depth of around 400 – 525 feet and in the night at depths between 39 – 80 feet. His swimming speed was between 1 – 1.3mph. This pattern of speed, depths and vertical migration is seen in many marine animals as they track the movement of plankton in the water column.

A Compilation of Megamouth Shark Photographs


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    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Wow, what an amazing shark! Maybe it wouldn't chew me up, but it might swallow me whole. I'm sure it would be quite a sight to see. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • Hawkstryker profile image

      Matt Dawes 5 years ago from England

      Thanks guys! Yeah, I dare say I'd swim for it if I saw that mouth coming towards me!

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 5 years ago from UK

      What an ugly creature. I know it wouldn't eat you, but if you were diving and you saw that thing swimming towards you, I dare say you'd jump out of your suit!