The mako shark belongs to the order of Lamniformes (commonly known as mackerel sharks), which includes the great white, goblin shark, and megamouth shark. It is one of the larger sharks and a species in which the females are significantly larger than the males.


Mako Shark Speed

The mako shark is the fastest shark on earth and can reach speeds of up to 20 miles or 32 kilometers per hour. With gusts, it’s possible for them to travel at a phenomenal 50 miles an hour. 

Following the mako shark is the great white shark which can reach up to 35 mph, and the blue shark reaching speeds around 24.5 mph. On the far end of the spectrum is the Greenland shark, which exerts little energy, causing through the ocean at around 1 mph.

 

Appearance 

The mako shark has a cylindrical hydrodynamic body that allows it to move very quickly through the ocean. Their skin is a great blue color, with the underside darker than the upper side. This is something known as countershading. It allows them to blend in either with the dark depths of the ocean or the ocean surface, lightened by the sun’s rays. 

Juvenille Mako Shark
A juvenile mako shark

The females are slightly longer than the males, reaching lengths between 10.5 to 12.5 feet, or 3.2 and 3.8 meters. The sharks also weigh in at anywhere between 130-330 pounds, or 60 to 150 kilograms, with the females on the heavier end of that spectrum. 

The sharks have a full caudal fin with a strong lower lobe as well as two drains, one much smaller than the other. The sharks also have two pectoral fins that are fairly short as well.

Like most sharks, they have small black eyes and long gill slits. The juvenile Mako sharks are recognizable by black markings on the tip of their snouts. The sharks are also known for their very large teeth that often protrude from their mouths even when they are closed.

Habitat 

Mako sharks live in temperate waters all over the world. But the largest concentrations of mako sharks are in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. In the Pacific, most of the sharks are along the American coasts as well as on the coast of New Zealand and Australia. They can also be found in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

The sharks may venture up to depths of around 500 feet or 150 meters. 

Diet 

Mako sharks are incredible predators. They feed on several species of fish but prefer Atlantic blue fish, which make up almost the entire day of their diet. It’s not uncommon, though, to find them feeding on octopus, bony fish, like tuna and swordfish, as well as dolphins, turtles, and even other small sharks. These incredible hunters consume around 3% of their weight every day.

A mako shark's jaw with its long, protruding teeth
A mako shark’s jaw with its long, protruding teeth

Credit: Didier Descouens, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Mako sharks have, on occasion, been known to attack humans when provoked. A recent study found that a mako shark delivered the most powerful bite by a shark ever recorded. It was measured by what the inventor calls a “bite-meter,” and it came in at 3,000 pounds or 13,000 newtons of pressure. In comparison, the animal with the strongest bite ever measured was the saltwater crocodile with 17,000 newtons, according to Newsweek

Reproduction 

Male sharks reach sexual maturity of different sizes. Females are almost 1/3 larger than their male counterparts when they are sexually mature. They are generally solitary individuals, meaning that it’s rare to find them grouped and even rare to find males and females mixed. They usually travel in groups according to sex, except for when they’re mating, which occurs in late summer and early fall.

Male mako sharks can be aggressive during the mating season, often injuring and scarring females in the process. Mako sharks are ovoviviparous and gestate for between 15 and 18 months. The females produce young every 2 to 3 years. 

A Captive Shortfin Mako Shark
A mako shark that was temporary captive at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise

Credit: 出羽雀台, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license


Threats 

Today, the shark is listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN’s Red List. It has luckily not been exposed to the same degree of expensive hunting practices as other sharks but has still been hunted for its flesh, liver, cartilage, oil, and much more. The species is also affected by bycatch or accidentally being caught in nets meant for other fish. 

Facts about the Mako Shark 

Here are a few interesting facts about the mako shark: 

  • The shark is also known for its incredible leaping ability. It can jump up to 10 feet out of the water while hunting. 
  • The mako shark primarily eats Atlantic bluefish. 
  • The species has no known natural predators that pose a true danger. 
  • The sharks have a wide geological range, including areas of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. 
  • The shark has historically been hunted for its meat, fins, skin, teeth, and oil.


FAQs 

Will a mako shark attack humans?

There are a few instances of known mako shark attacks on humans. But, they are generally related to instances in which the shark has been provoked or caught on a fishing line. 

Where are mako sharks found?

The shark and intemperate waters throughout the world’s oceans. The majority of Mako sharks live on the coast of the Americas and around New Zealand and Australia.

What is special about the mako shark?

The mako shark is considered to be the fastest shark in the ocean and one of the fastest fish. It can reach speeds of around 50 miles an hour with the right wind gusts.

Are mako sharks rare?

Mako sharks are fairly rare and are considered vulnerable to extinction. Today, scientists believe that around 40% of the original population of Mako sharks exists in the world’s oceans.

Are mako sharks color blind?

Scientists aren’t 100% certain, but they believe that Mako sharks and most, or all, shark species could be totally color blind.