What Do Mako Sharks Eat?

Mako sharks primarily feed on schooling fish like mackerel, anchovy and tuna. However, as a pelagic — open-ocean — shark, the mako is necessarily a opportunistic feeder that feeds on a variety of other prey, such as crustaceans, cephalopods, seabirds, marine mammals and other species of sharks.

There are two species of mako sharks: the longfin mako and the shortfin mako. Both are classified as mackerel sharks, accounting for the mako's prey preference of schooling fish, but the longfin mako shark was not identified as a separate species until 1966.

Cruising along at 25 mph and capable of reaching speeds up to 46 mph, the shortfin mako is the fastest shark in the world. This great speed has been attributed to multiple observations of shortfin mako sharks leaping out of the water while hunting and in response to getting hooked on fishing lines. Among the shortfin mako's fastest prey is the marlin, which can reach speeds of up to 50 mph.

Other than larger eyes and longer fins, comparatively little is known about the behavior and habitat of the longfin mako shark. Scientists speculate that the longfin mako's longer tail and pectoral fins may make the shark a slower swimmer than its shortfin cousin due to the increased drag that accompanies the increased surface area of the fins. Additionally, the longfin mako's larger eyes may allow the shark to hunt at deeper depths by capturing more light.