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 Megamouth (Megachasma pelagios)

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© Tom Haight
 Range Map

Earth Map


Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

Class: Carlilagenous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)
  Order: Mackerel sharks (Lamniformes)
    Family: Megamouth sharks (Megachasmidae)
      Genus: Megachasma (Megachasma)


Scientific: Megachasma pelagios
German: Riesenmaulhai
English: Megamouth
French: Requin grande gueule
Spanish: Tiburón bocudo


Very long head; distance from snout to end of gill slits approximately the length of entire trunk. Very short snout. Terminal mouth, extends behind the eyes. Small spiracles behind eyes. Moderately long gill slits. First dorsal fin semierect and angular, about double the size (height and base length) of second one. Origin of first dorsal fin over the end of pectoral fins. Origin of second dorsal fins over second half of pelvic fin bases. Anal fin smaller than second dorsal fin. No lateral keels on peduncle. Soft body.


Grey to greyish-black. White upper lip.


Not really known yet since only 11 specimen have been caught so far. The last megamouth shark was caught on February 20, 1998 around the Philippines. Beside the ninth specimen (caught in the Atlantic) all others have been caught in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. Since this species seem to be a more deepwater oriented species, a worldwide range is possible.


A little known species. Seems to prefer shrimp (Thysanopoda pectinata) and follows its daily migration with a depth range from 300 m down to about 1100 m during daytime hours and a nocturnal depth of 150 m to about 500 m. Compared to the Basking shark ,another plankton feeder, this species is able to actively suck in water,like the .


Feeds on shrimp, Thysanopoda pectinata, and other forms of plankton. It is possible that this species even feeds on fish.


Maximum size still unknown but at least 520 cm.


Unknown. Maturity seemed to be reached with a size of about 400 cm.

 Similar Species



Status in the IUCN Red List(1994):

Main criterion: > DD (Data Deficient)
Sub criterion:
Trend: Unknown

 Danger to Humans


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