Shortfin Mako Shark - Isurus oxyrinchus
Mako sharks represent the very apex of Chondrichthyian predatory development.
Few creatures are blessed with a greater perimeter of trophic superiority than the mako shark.
There are two types of mako, the most common and widely spread is the
shortfin mako; (Isurus oxyerinchus); less common and more specialized is
the long-fin mako, (Isurus paucus.)
Both types of mako represent the largest, (13' and 1500 lbs.) fastest, most
sophisticated species of pelagic shark on the planet.
Pound for pound the mako is in all likely hood the most vigorous and
powerful shark in the seas.
An ancient relative Isurus hastilus is nearly identical in terms of tooth
structure and function. The ancient mako hastilus was probably 20'+ long
and nearly three tons; It was a Cretaceous Grand Mako that shared the seas
with kronosaur, ichthyosaur and plesiosaur.
The makos of today feed on some of the worlds fastest and highly developed
tunas and billfish, mako sharks are at the very apex of the marine food
chain. Makos have been known to feed on dolphins, porpoise and blue sharks
and are known for being able to leap high into the air.
The mako sharks are an easily recognizable shark exhibiting all the traits
of a Lamnid, they are an extremely robust and streamlined pelagic shark
with well developed eyes ( larger in the longfin) and an endothermic
circulatory system (warm bloodedness) that is known to maintain elevated
muscle temperatures of up to 33 degrees above the ambient water
temperatures. Both types of mako are heavily built with the trademark
strong caudal keels that are a common feature among lamnids such as white
sharks, porbeagles and salmon sharks.
Long-fin makos are apparently a more deep water tropics dwelling predator
of which little is known. It wasn't even described as a separate species
Both models of mako are of striking coloration. Dorsal surfaces are a
deep purplish indigo in color, silvery on sides fading to snow white below.
The longfin has a shaded coloration around the mouth and underside of the
snout, unlike the shortfin that is snow white around the mouth and
under-snout. Only the blue shark can rival the makos for beautiful color.
Mako sharks have five large gill slits, Well developed eyes (slightly
larger in the long-fin) and pronounced knife like, non-serrated teeth. An
extremely fast and active shark it was propelled to " big-game fishing "
fame by author Zane Gray who was taken by the animals menacing appearance
and volatility during the early part of this century. Author Ernest
Hemingway also was impressed by the mako shark and depicted it as the
marlin marauding heavy in his classic novel the Old Man and the Sea.
Author Richard Ellis also wrote an excellent short story about a deep sea
contest between a mako and a broadbill swordfish in his popular work the
Book of Sharks.
Development is ovoviparous. Developing young are intra-uteral cannibals
that consume lesser developed siblings. Oviphagy.
Males mature at around 6 1/2 feet (200 cm) while females are somewhat
larger 8 1/2 feet (260 cm). Maximum length over 12 feet long and max weight
over 1500 lbs. Very little is known about the reproduction of the shortfin
mako because females abort embryos during capture. Litters of over 8 - 10
pups are uncommon.