The Shortfin Mako Shark, scientific name Isurus Oxyrinchus, is sometimes referred to as Bonito or Blue Pointer. The name “Mako” is derived from the Maori language, meaning either “The shark” or “Shark tooth”. It falls under the Mackerel shark class. The Mako is cylindrical in shape and the tail is vertically elongated. The colouration, dark on top and light below, acts as countershading, to avoid any prey. It has the largest brain of the species, in the body to brain ratio.
Mako Sharks Location and prey
Mako Sharks can be located almost anywhere in the world’s oceans. Mako can be found near the surface and up to depths of 150 m (490 ft), occasionally coming close to shore or around islands. They are very seldom found in waters colder than 16 degrees Celsius (61 Fahrenheit).
The Shortfin feeds on tuna, mackerel, bonitos and even swordfish. They also feed on sea birds, porpoises, sea turtles and other sharks. Vertical lunges are used to tear off chunks from the prey, consuming 3% of their body weight every day. Mako has been found with broken off swordfish bills impaled in their heads or gills, making the swordfish a dangerous prey.
The average adult measures around 3.2 meters (10ft) in length and can weigh 60 – 135 kg (132 – 298 lb). The females are typically larger than the males. The largest ever caught by fishing line weighed 600 kg’s (1300 lbs). The Shortfin is capable of speed bursts of 18 – 19 meters per second (68 kph or 42 mph), making it the fastest-swimming of the species. This also allows for jumps out of the water up to 9 meters (30 ft).
Sexual maturity and status of the Mako Shark
Females reach sexual maturity at the age of 18 years. The gestation period is from 15 – 18 months, with females resting for up to 18 months before mating again. The Mako is ovoviviparous, meaning that the unborn are carried in a yolk sac and born live. The pups are born in groups of 4 – 18 at a time. Lifespan is recorded at 29 – 32 years of age.
The Shortfin was uplisted in 2007, from near threatened to vulnerable. Commercial and sport fishing target the Mako, but there is also a substantial amount of bycatch from driftnet fisheries, fishing for other species. In captivity, the Mako fairs the poorest of all sharks. The longest recorded life in captivity is only 5 days. Up until 2017, only 5 recorded attacks have been on humans.