What is a Megamouth Shark?

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What is a Megamouth Shark? Blog Image

Overview:

A pregnant megamouth shark, a rare and elusive deepwater species, was recently discovered washed up on a beach in the Philippines.

About Megamouth Shark

  • It is an extremely rare and unusual species of deep-water shark.
  • Scientific Name: Megachasma pelagios.
  • Distribution:
    • Their range is believed to span the region between latitudes 40°N and 40°S.
    • These sharks inhabit the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans.
  • Habitat: They are found in deep, warm oceanic water.
  • This species has only been observed in the wild a few times, and less than 60 individuals are known by scientists to have ever been captured or observed.
  • Features:
    • It is a large species, reaching weights of 2700 pounds (1215 kg).
    • They are typically 425-515 cm long. Females are larger than males.
    • They are easily recognised by their huge, soft head and large mouth, which is positioned at the anterior margin of the head.
    • The colour varies from grey to blueish-black above and is pale grey below. The tips of most of the fins are usually white.
    • They have a series of small, hooked teeth along their top and bottom jaws.
    • They are filter feeders, and they swim with their mouths constantly wide open in order to filter out their preferred planktonic prey.
    • The inside of their mouths is covered with light-producing organs that may be used to attract pelagic crustaceans and other potential prey.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Q1) What are filter feeders?

A filter feeder, also known as a suspension feeder, is any animal that obtains food by filtering water for nutritious particles. Examples of a filter feeder include mysids, flamingos, clams, krill, sponges and whale sharks.

Source: In a first, pregnant megamouth shark spotted on Philippines beach sparks major marine discovery