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 Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus)

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Shortfin Mako
 Range Map

Earth Map


Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

Class: Carlilagenous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)
  Order: Mackerel sharks (Lamniformes)
    Family: Mackerel sharks (Lamnidae)
      Genus: Isurus (Isurus)


Scientific: Isurus oxyrinchus
German: Kurzflossen-Mako
English: Shortfin Mako
French: Taupe bleu
Spanish: Marrajo dientuso


Slender body, very hydrodynamic with a long and conical snout. Relatively small pectoral fins. Large first dorsal fin, minute second one. Crescendic caudal fin. Strong caudal fin on peduncle without secondary keels.


Metallic blue coloration with white ventral surface.


Wide distribution in tropical and temperate waters, rarely found in waters below temperatures of 16°C. Western Atlantic: Gulf of Maine to southern Brazil, Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas and Caribbean. Eastern Atlantic: Norway, British Isles, Mediterranean to Ivory Coast, Ghana, and South Africa. Indo-Western Pacific: Red Sea to Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Caledonia, Korea, Japan. Central Pacific: Aleutian Islands to Society Islands, Hawaiian Islands. Eastern Pacific: Washington to central Chile.


Makos prefer epipelagic and littoral waters from the surface down to at least 150 m. They have the tendency to follow warm water currents in their most northern and southern parts of their range during summer months. Probably the fastest shark species of all. When caught often leaps several times out of the water.


Eats primarly fish such as mackerels, tunas, bonitos, anchovies, herrings, grunts, swordfishes, and even other sharks (e.g. blue sharks, requiem sharks, hammerheads). The very large animals develop very broad, more flattened and triangular upper teeth, probably used to dismember larger prey. This impossible for smaller makos that possess more bladelike teeth.


Average size between 180 cm and 250 cm, maximum total length about 400 cm, reaching 570 kg.


Aplacental viviparity (ovoviviparity), embryos feed on eggs (oophagous). 8 to 16 pups per litter that show a fast growth rate. Size at birth about 70 cm. Birth takes places in open water. Males reach sexual maturity at a size of approximately 200 cm and 80 kg to 100 kg, females at approximately 280 cm and about 200 kg.

 Similar Species

Can be mistaken for the Porbeagle that however possesses 2 lateral keels on the peduncle and a conspicuously white colored free rear end of the first dorsal fin. Furthermore, the general appearance of porbeagles is less hydrodynamic. As opposed to the Great white shark , Makos have no dark spot at the free rear end of the pectoral fins.


Status in the IUCN Red List(1994):

Main criterion: > LR/nt (Low Risk/Near Threatened (1994))
Sub criterion:
Trend: Unknown

 Danger to Humans

Seems to be dangerous, although questionable.

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