Featured Image Credit: Hiroyuki Arakawa via Facebook
By Sarah Sharkey
A megamouth shark was found in a fishing net off the coast of Japan late last month. This was an extremely rare occurrence.
This species was first discovered in 1976 by a U.S. Navy research vessel, which found an adult male specimen off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.
There have only been 55 sightings since then, including this recent catch. But it has been seen in a wide range: the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Its large mouth holds a filtering system that classifies this shark as a “filter feeding” shark. This is the same category as basking sharks and whale sharks. The large mouth sucks in prey such as krill and then expels the water through its gills.
These megamouth sharks have the body to match their gigantic mouths! The maximum known size is at least 17 feet and some of the found carcasses have been even longer! One off the coast of Taiwan measured 23 feet long! Now that is a mega-shark.
Although these sharks are very large, they are not great swimmers. Its slowness can be attributed to its flabby body and asymmetrical tail.
The shark found last month was a female measured around 5 to 6 meters long. (15 to 18 feet). There were people close by that were brave enough to get in the water and film this amazing creature! It truly is a beautiful sight to see it slowly make its way through the water.