Mako Shark

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Mako Shark

Makos may not be the biggest species of shark, rarely growing beyond 10 feet, but they are the quickest! Makos are the fastest known species of shark, able to cruise at speeds of around 25 mph (40 km/h), with bursts over 45 mph (72 km/h)!


Content List

1. Scientific & Common Names

2. Characteristics

a. Breeding

b. Behavior

3. History

4. Present Status


Scientific & Common Names

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Chondrichtyes

Subclass - Elasmobranchii

Superorder - Selachimorphia

Order - Lamniformes

Family - Lamnidae

Genus – Isurus

Species – I. oxyrinchus

Common Names – Shortfin Mako Shark


Characteristics

Mako sharks are streamlined and specialized for speed. These torpedo-shaped sharks are a dark steely-blue above and a lighter shade below, a common coloration pattern among sea animals which is known as "counter-shading". This helps the animal avoid being seen from above and below.

There are two species of mako shark, and they share many similarities. The main difference is in their pectoral fins. The more commonly known shortfin mako has shorter, more pointed pectoral fins, while the longfin mako (Isurus paucus) has much longer, more rounded fins. The longfin mako is less specialized for speed than its more popular cousin, and prefers deeper waters.


Breeding

Mako sharks give birth to live young, between four and 18 pups in a litter.


Behavior

The fastest species of shark, Makos are skilled predators. They are known to leap out of the water as high as 30 feet. Their prey can even include sea turtles, porpoises and swordfish.


History

Not only are makos the fastest shark species, but researchers believe they may be the smartest. Mako sharks have one of the largest brain to body ratios of all shark species, prompting researches to attempt to quantify their level of intelligence. Scientists discovered that makos were relatively fast learners, and able to quickly determine threats from non-threats. Sadly, the mako is currently classified as vulnerable and its population numbers have decreased in the last 10 years.


Present status

Makos are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). They are a popular sport fish due to their speed and ability to leap. They are also caught in commercial fishing nets, both intentionally and in nets meant for other fish.