Defining Features[edit | edit source]

Commonly known as "Mackerel Sharks," Lamniformes are typically recognized by their two dorsal fins and anal fin. Additionally, Lamniformes have five gill slits, though sometimes the last two are above the pectoral fins. They also usually have small spiracles behind their eyes, eyes without nictitating membrane, and a mouth that extends beyond their eyes.

Habitat and Range[edit | edit source]

Lamniformes are found in many places across the ocean. Many of them are present along coasts, in more shallow water, and in epipelagic regions, but they are also known to cross the ocean and venture deeper into the mesopelagic. Additionally, multiple species within Lamniformes remain very close to the ocean floor and along deep continental slopes, having no need to traverse between depths for prey.

Fisheries Conservation and Concern[edit | edit source]

Due to various reasons, including media villainization, fascination, fear, and money, many Lamniformes species are targeted within sport fishing and the larger fishing industry. By portraying these sharks as "dangerous man-eaters," media companies are able to make money off of viewers' fear and dismiss the immense ecological importance of Lamniformes. Unfortunately, this fabricated narrative makes individuals less likely to protect these species. Additionally, sharks are an important economical aspect of some countries, where they are caught in mass for shark fin soup production, a dish that strips sharks of the fin functions they need to survive. Finally, Lamniformes are also often deathly captured within longlines and trawls as bycatch, and they infrequently survive these situations. All of the following Lamniformes species are listed by the IUCN as near-threatened and in need of conservation: Alopias vulpinus, Lamna ditropis, Megachasma pelagios, and Odontaspis noronhai (as Data Deficient); Carcharodon carcharias, Carcharias taurus, and Cetorhinus maximus (as Vulnerable); Lamna nasus, Isurus oxyrinchus, and Pseudocarcharias kamoharai.

Closest Relatives[edit | edit source]


Example Species in Lamniformes[edit | edit source]

Shortfin Mako Shark[edit | edit source]

Isurus oxyrinchus[edit | edit source]

Defining Features: The Shortfin Mako Shark is believed to be the fastest swimming shark in the world, having the ability to reach, in bursts, speeds of up to 43 miles per hour. The Shortfin Mako Shark's triangular dorsal fin, large crescent structured caudal fin and a pointed rostrum allows it to be extremely hydrodynamically efficient. The Shortfin Mako Shark's colorations, dark blue on top and white on the bottom, create a camouflage that helps disguise it from predators and prey.

Range & Habitat: The Shortfin Mako is commonly found in tropical and temperate waters throughout the world. Shortfin Mako Sharks span from California to Chile in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The Shortfin Mako also spans from Japan to New Zealand in the western Pacific. The Shortfin Mako is found from the Aleutian Islands to the Society Islands in the central Pacific. In the western Atlantic Ocean, the Shortfin Mako ranges from the Grand Banks, Canada to Argentina, as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The Shortfin Mako also inhabits the eastern Atlantic Ocean from Norway to South Africa, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. The Shortfin Mako is found throughout the Indian Ocean, from South Africa to Australia. Shortfin Mako are normally found in Oceanic waters due to it being a true pelagic shark, but can occur near the coast where the continental shelf is short. The Shortfin Mako is found from the surface to depths of 1640 feet.

IUCN Concern: Vulnerable for the Atlantic and Indo-west Pacific subpopulation and near threatened for the Eastern North Pacific subpopulation.

Great White Shark[edit | edit source]

Carcharodon carcharias[edit | edit source]

Defining Features: The Great White Shark is one of the largest species of shark. The predicted maximum body size of great whites measures an estimated 20 feet, with unconfirmed reports of even larger individual sharks. The Great White Shark can be identified by their pointed, conical snout, triangular dorsal, lunate crescent shaped caudal fin with a one keel on the caudal peduncle and the sudden color change from grayish black on top to a pale white underside. This species of shark is also known to be quite intelligent and curious and as a result displays unique social features. In addition, the Great White Shark is endothermic, otherwise known as warm blooded, which allows it to maintain a body temperature which is higher then the surrounding water it swims in.

Range & Habitat: The Great White Shark is primarily found in temperate seas with a few larger individuals being recorded in tropical waters. The Great White shark occasionally ventures into colder, boreal waters with records of them off of Canada and Alaska. These sharks are found in the western Atlantic from Newfoundland to Florida, the northern Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas and near Cuba, as well as from Brazil to Argentina. In the eastern Atlantic, Great White Sharks are found from France to South Africa, as well as in the Mediterranean Sea. In the Indian Ocean, Great White Sharks are found from the Red Sea, to South Africa, the Seychelles, Reunion and even Mauritius. In the western Pacific Ocean, these sharks span from Siberia to New Zealand and the Marshall Islands. In the central Pacific, they are found off the Hawaiian Islands. Finally, in the eastern Pacific, these sharks are found from Alaska to the Gulf of California and from Panama to Chile, South America. Great White Sharks frequent the Upper Water column, but can be found from the open ocean to the surfline with depths ranging from the surface to 4265 feet. Great White Sharks are normally found in small coastal archipelagos inhabited by their prey, seals, sea lions and walruses. In addition, Great White Sharks can be found offshore in and around reefs, banks, shoals and rocky headlands with deepwater drop-offs that are close to the shoreline.

IUCN Concern: Vulnerable

Example Species in the Gulf of Maine[edit | edit source]

Sand Tiger Shark[edit | edit source]

Carcharias taurus[edit | edit source]

Defining Features: Sand Tiger Sharks are large, but slow moving sharks that are found in and around reefs, surfs and shallow bays. Sand Tiger Sharks migrate North and South with the seasons. Sand tigers can be identified by their conically shaped snout that is flattened, distinct asymmetrical caudal fin with an enlarged upper lobe, light brown dorsal fin with dark spots scattered across the body and are light colored ventrally. The Sand Tiger Shark's dorsal fin is placed further back on it's body which makes it closer to it's pelvic fin rather then it's pectoral fin. In addition, their first and second dorsal and anal fins are nearly equal in size and their mouth reaches behind their eyes.

Range & Habitat: The Sand Tiger Shark is found in most warm seas throughout the world, excluding the eastern Pacific. In the Western Atlantic, the Sand Tiger Shark ranges from the Gulf of Maine to Argentina, but is commonly found in Cape Cod and Delaware Bay during summer. Additionally, the Sand Tiger Shark spans from the coast of Europe and Mediterranean Sea to South Africa in the Eastern Atlantic. The Sand Tiger also spans from Japan to Australia in the western Pacific Ocean. Sand Tiger Sharks inhabit a variety of habitats such as surf zones, shallow bays, both coral and rocky reefs as well as deeper areas around the continental shelf. Sand Tigers are found in depths from 6 to 626 feet

IUCN Concern: Vulnerable

References[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.