How is the Shortfin Mako Shark built for speed?

The Shortfin Mako Shark is found in tropical and temperate seas all over the world. It has a streamlined bullet-like shape and small dorsal fins (as its name ‘shortfin’ suggests) that minimize drag, making it an extremely fast swimmer.

It can grow to a length of 3 metres and weigh around 135 kg.

At speeds of 50 km/h, it is one of the fastest sharks in the ocean. It is metallic blue on top and white below. It has large, well developed eyes and a mouthful of teeth. In fact its name ‘Mako’ comes from the Maori language and means tooth or shark tooth. The Maori tribes of New Zealand prize Mako teeth and use them to make necklaces and traditional jewellery.

The Mako is an extremely aggressive and energetic fish. Anglers, who have experienced a Mako Shark at the end of their line, liken the experience to wrestling with an angry crocodile! A hooked Mako will not give up easily and takes a series of flying leaps into the air struggling with the line. Sometimes it will even land on top of the angler and the boat!

This shark also leads an eventful life in the ocean. It preys on and attacks swordfish and will often enter into a battle with these dangerous adversaries. Mako sharks are often seen with swordfish stabs and puncture wounds in their body and some even have broken pieces of the swordfish bill lodged in their heads!

This deadly and beautiful predator was once abundantly found in the world’s oceans. Overhunting by recreational anglers as well as for commercial consumption has brought its population down drastically. It is currently listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN List.

Picture Credit : Google

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