Lamnidae, or Mackerel Sharks
The Sports Cars of the Oceans

The family Lamnidae, or mackerel sharks, belongs to the order Lamniformes which, just to confuse the issue, is also more commonly known as mackerel sharks.

Great Whit

The Great White Shark

The family is made up of 5 species in 3 genera.


  • General body shape - Mackerel sharks have a spindle-shaped body with a conical snout. The body is slightly flattened towards the tail and caudal keels are present.
  • Eyes - The eyes of the mackerel shark family are large and black. They have no protective nictitating membrane.
  • Teeth - Only the teeth of the great white are serrated. Compared to other sharks the mackerels have relatively few teeth.
  • Gills - Long gill slits, though not extending to the top of the head. No gill rakers present.
  • Fins - The caudal (tail) fin is almost symmetrical with the lower lobe only slightly shorter than the upper. They have a very small second dorsal fin and anal fins, and a high, triangular first dorsal fin.

These sharks are warm bodied and can maintain a constant body temperature even in cold water. They are among the fastest swimmers in the ocean, though the great white is slower due to its sheer size.

Unlike many shark families where many members hardly resemble each other at all, the mako, the porbeagle and the great white can be difficult to tell apart at first glance. The relationship between the anal fin and the second dorsal fin will help with your identification.

In the great white the 2nd dorsal fin sits quite far in front of the anal fin, in the porbeagle it is almost directly above it, and in the mako the 2nd dorsal sits only slightly ahead of the anal fin.

Return to World of Sharks from Lamnidae

Shortfin Mako

Shortfin Mako

Great White

Great White

Salmon Shar

Salmon Shark

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