longfin mako

Longfin mako shark

The longfin mako, Isurus paucus, is a large shark of the Lamnidae family, found in temperate and tropical seas worldwide. It is commonly called just mako and also "'sword shark"', although that name is shared with the closely related shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus.

The longfin mako has a dark bluish back and white underside. It appears to be the larger of the two mako species, with a average adult length of 3.7 m (12.3 ft) and mass of 343 kg (756 lb). The maximum known size is 4.27 m (14 ft). The pectoral fins are about as long as the head or longer, relatively broad-tipped in young and adults. The snout is usually narrowly to bluntly pointed, usually not acute. The cusps of upper and lower anterior teeth are straight, with tips not reversed. The caudal fin is lunate, with a very long lower lobe.

The longfin mako's speed has been recorded at over 60 mph(~96 km/h) in short bursts, and they can jump up to 6 m (20 ft) in the air.

The longfin mako shark is a yolk-sac ovoviviparous shark, meaning it gives birth to live young which feed from a sac full of yolk in the womb. The gestation period for a mako shark is 15–18 months. Embryos in the female's body consume each other to get nutrients, with only two pups usually produced in a litter. This intrauterine cannibalism is common in sharks.

The name "mako" comes from the Māori language, but the etymology is unclear.

This species is often of slimmer build, and its long, broad-tipped pectoral fins suggest that it is slower and less active, than its better-known relative the shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus.



  • Tony Ayling & Geoffrey Cox, Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand, (William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand 1982) ISBN 0-00-216987-8

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