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Shortfin Mako Shark Isurus oxyrinchus


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Shortfin Mako Shark
credit: Mark Conlin

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Family: Lamnidae, Mackerel Sharks view all from this family

Description The shortfin mako is sleek and spindle-shaped with a long conical snout. Mako sharks have a more hydrodynamic shape than any shark other than the salmon shark. A crescent shaped caudal (tail) fin. The caudal base has a distinct caudal keel. Its second dorsal fin is much smaller than the first. The apexes of pectoral fin and first dorsal fin are rounded in younger makos. Shortfin makos skin has a very abrasive placoid scales to reduce friction during swimming, like the dimples of a golf ball. Teeth are long and slender with smooth-edged cusps,visible even when the mouth is closed. Distinct countershading, dorsally blue and ventrally white. Moderately short pectoral fin.

Warning Although there are few reported attacks on humans, this shark is regarded as dangerous. Hooked makos have been known to attack boats.

Similar Species Longfin Mako.

Habitat Ocean or bay shallows, Open ocean.

Range New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Florida, Texas, California, Northwest, Alaska.

Discussion The shortfin mako's speed has been recorded at 50 kilometers per hour (31 mph) with bursts of up to 74 kilometers per hour (46 mph). They can leap approximate 9 meters (30 ft) high or higher in the air. Some scientists suggest that the biochemistry of shortfin mako can swim up to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph). Scientists are in debate exactly, how fast can the shortfin mako shark swim, also which particular species are actually the top champion ocean swimmers. This high-leaping fish is sought as game worldwide. There are cases when an angry mako jumped into a boat after having been hooked. This shark is highly migratory.