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WHAT IS ELASMODIVER?

Not just Shark Pictures: Elasmodiver contains photos of sharks, skates, rays, and chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web based shark field guide to help divers find the best places to encounter the different species of sharks and rays that live in shallow water but it has slowly evolved into a much larger project containing information on all aspects of shark diving and shark photography.

There are now more than 5000 shark pictures  and sections on shark evolution, biology, and conservation. There is a large library of reviewed shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a monster list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are numerous articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is now so difficult to check for updates, that new information and pictures are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be accessed here:

WHAT'S NEW?

Shark picture - green sawfish

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Shortfin Mako Shark

 

 

 

 

Photographs copyright Andy Murch. All rights reserved.

View all available Shortfin Mako Shark Pictures

Common Names: Shortfin Mako Shark, Mako Shark.

Latin Name: Isurus oxyrinchus  

Family: Lamnidae  

Identification: Long conical snout. Large blue/black eyes. Lower jaw contains multiple rows of inwardly curving teeth. Pectoral fin length shorter than length of head. Juveniles often have more rounded dorsal and pectoral fins. Well developed caudal keel. Crescent shaped tail. Back coloration bright blue to purple/slate grey. Underside off white. In the Shortfin Mako Shark population of the Azores and Cape Verde Islands the underside of the snout and jaw of large adults are dusky which is similar to the Longfin Mako's coloration but characteristic analysis confirms that they are definitely Isurus oxyrinchus.

Size: Maximum recorded size 4.45m but more commonly 2m. Size at birth 60-70cm

Habitat: Coastal and oceanic in depths of up to 500m. Prefers clear water over turbid. Often seen swimming just below the surface with first dorsal fin visible.

Abundance and distribution: Circumtropical and temperate in waters usually warmer than 16 degrees. Highly migratory with migrations recorded up to 2500mi.

Diet and Behavior: The shortfin mako shark cruises open water in search of prey species. It's main diet consists of bony fishes and squid. Wounds and scars on the ventral surface and caudal peduncle of swordfish and tuna indicate that Shortfin Mako Sharks often attack from below. As well as a large assortment of bony fishes, Makos also consume a variety of sharks and rays (especially in South Africa) and larger specimens may attack dolphins and small cetaceans.

Reproduction: Ovoviviparous. Recorded litter size 2 - 10 but may be higher. Gestation has been estimated at 14 months.

Shortfin Mako Shark Fetus

Shortfin mako shark fetus

Observations: On a recent trip to Guadalupe Island I watched a small (1m) Shortfin Mako shark make repeated passes at the shark cage whenever the Great White Sharks disappeared.

Photographs: San Diego, California.  

Similar species: Longfin Mako (Isurus paucus). The longfin mako shark is distinguished from the shortfin mako shark by its significantly longer pectoral fins, even larger eyes and dark coloration on the underside of the snout and jaw extending about half way to the gills. Its teeth are also somewhat broader.

Reaction to divers: Initially makes fast, close passes in the presence of chum then slows down and retreats to a more wary distance but continues to make occasional passes. Otherwise difficult to approach. Rarely attacks without provocation but has bitten divers and swimmers. Also known to attack boats.

Diving logistics: Chris Fallows runs an ecotourism operation in South Africa in which Mako and Blue Sharks are commonly seen.

Until recently there were Blue/Mako Shark operators working out of Southern California but due to over-fishing fewer and fewer sharks attended the feeds until shark watching trips were no longer viable.

Divers working fom their own boats should be able to find shortfin mako sharks by chumming off shore around San Diego CA. Mako sharks generally migrate through during the mid to late summer months. People interested in trying this should head about 10 miles from shore and drift chum around the drop offs where cold water upwellings bring the sharks up to feed on migrating fish.

Other diving locations submitted by readers: 

References and further reading:  

Mako Sharks. Alessandro De Maddalena. Krieger.

Sharks of the World. Leonard Compagno.

Sharks and Rays - Elasmobranch Guide of the World. Ralf M. Hennemann. IKAN.

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