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Discovery of Mako Sharks: Their Global Distribution

Introduction: Mako Sharks

Mako sharks are a group of highly migratory and fast-swimming sharks that are found in oceans all over the world. They are known for their sleek and streamlined bodies, which allow them to swim at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. These sharks are apex predators, feeding on a variety of prey including fish, squid, and other sharks. Mako sharks are also highly sought after by commercial and recreational fishermen due to their meat, fins, and teeth.

Taxonomy and Classification of Mako Sharks

Mako sharks belong to the family Lamnidae, which includes other large sharks like the great white and the porbeagle. There are two species of mako shark: the shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) and the longfin mako (Isurus paucus). These two species are distinguished by the length of their pectoral fins, which are shorter in the shortfin mako and longer in the longfin mako. Both species are closely related and share many physical characteristics.

Physical Characteristics of Mako Sharks

Mako sharks are easily recognizable by their long, pointed snouts and large, dark eyes. They have a metallic blue-grey coloration on their backs and a white underside. Mako sharks have five to seven gill slits and two dorsal fins, with the first being much larger than the second. The shortfin mako can grow up to 12 feet in length and weigh over 1,000 pounds, while the longfin mako is slightly smaller, typically reaching lengths of 10 feet and weighing up to 300 pounds.

Habitat and Distribution of Mako Sharks

Mako sharks are found in temperate and tropical waters all over the world, from the surface down to depths of over 500 feet. They prefer open ocean habitats and are often found in areas with high concentrations of prey, such as upwelling zones and offshore islands. Mako sharks are highly migratory and will travel long distances in search of food and suitable breeding grounds.

Global Distribution of Shortfin and Longfin Mako Sharks

Both shortfin and longfin mako sharks are found in all of the world’s oceans, although their distribution patterns vary slightly. Shortfin makos are more commonly found in warmer waters, while longfin makos tend to prefer cooler waters. Shortfin makos are found throughout the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, while longfin makos are more commonly found in the western Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea.

Mako Shark Migration Patterns and Behavior

Mako sharks are known for their long-distance migrations, with some individuals traveling over 7,000 miles in a single year. These sharks have been observed traveling from the waters off California to the waters off Japan, and from the waters off South Africa to the waters off Australia. Mako sharks are also known for their high-speed swimming behavior, which allows them to catch fast-moving prey like tuna and swordfish.

Mako Sharks in the Pacific Ocean

The Pacific Ocean is home to large populations of both shortfin and longfin mako sharks. Shortfin makos are found throughout the Pacific, from the waters off Japan to the waters off Australia. Longfin makos are more commonly found in the eastern and central Pacific, including off the coasts of California and Mexico. These sharks are often caught as bycatch in commercial fisheries targeting tuna and swordfish.

Mako Sharks in the Atlantic Ocean

Mako sharks are also found in large numbers in the Atlantic Ocean, with shortfin makos being more common than longfin makos. Shortfin makos are found throughout the Atlantic, from the waters off Canada to the waters off South Africa. Longfin makos are primarily found in the western Atlantic, including off the coasts of the United States and Brazil. Mako shark populations in the Atlantic have declined significantly due to overfishing.

Mako Sharks in the Indian Ocean

Mako sharks are found in the Indian Ocean, although their populations are not as well-studied as in other oceans. Shortfin makos have been observed in the waters off South Africa, Mozambique, and India, while longfin makos are more commonly found in the western Indian Ocean.

Mako Sharks in the Mediterranean Sea

The Mediterranean Sea is home to a population of longfin mako sharks, which are considered a separate subpopulation from those found in the Atlantic. These sharks are often caught as bycatch in fisheries targeting swordfish and tuna, and their populations have declined significantly due to overfishing.

Conservation Status of Mako Sharks

Both shortfin and longfin mako sharks are considered to be vulnerable to extinction due to overfishing and habitat loss. These sharks are highly valued for their meat, fins, and teeth, and are often caught as bycatch in commercial fisheries targeting other species. Several countries, including the United States and European Union, have implemented regulations aimed at protecting mako shark populations, but more research and conservation efforts are needed to ensure their survival.

Conclusion: Further Research and Protection Needed

Mako sharks are a fascinating and important species that play a vital role in ocean ecosystems. Their global distribution and long-distance migrations make them a valuable indicator of the health of the world’s oceans. However, these sharks are facing significant threats from overfishing and habitat loss, and more research and conservation efforts are needed to ensure their survival. By studying and protecting mako sharks, we can help to preserve the diversity and health of our oceans for future generations.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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