Shortfin Mako
Streamlined Beauty of the Oceans

I love the shortfin mako. Probably because it reminds me of my rescued ex-racing greyhound - sleek, pointy-nosed and super fast.

In fact, if my boy hadn't already had a perfectly fine name when I got him, I would probably have named him Mako.

Or maybe not, it might have given him ideas above his station.

A pelagic shark, the shortfin is found in open and coastal waters at depths ranging from the surface to around 500m, though it has been recorded at depths below 700m.

It is a very active shark and can cover large distances in a short period of time. It is thought to be the fastest of all shark species and one of the fastest fish in the ocean.

It is also an excellent jumper, capable of reaching heights of more than 6m. This athletic ability makes it a sought after target for game fishermen.

Pups are usually around 60 - 70cm at birth. Mature females can reach lengths of 274 - 290cm and males attain a size of 200 - 215cm. The maximum recorded length was 390cm.

The dorsal, or upper side, varies in colour from vivid blue to grey, while the ventral, or underside, is pale/white.

The first dorsal fin is situated between the pectoral and the pelvic fins. The second dorsal and the anal fin are very small and sit well back on the tail. The caudal, or tail, fin is crescent shaped and fairly symmetrical, with the lower lobe being almost as long as the upper.

The teeth are long and slightly curved. They have no serrations and are very sharp. Even when the mouth is closed the teeth are still visible, especially in the lower jaw.

Mainly fish, including other sharks, also squid and occasionally turtles and marine mammals.

Shortfin Mako have a gestation period of between 15 and 18 months and are ovoviviparous with oophagy occurring in the later stages of development. Litter sizes range from 4 to 25 pups with more, and bigger, pups being born to larger females.

Due to the long gestation period, females give birth once every two to three years.


It is found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters. Although it is warm-blooded and able to maintain a body temperature higher than the surrounding water, it prefers waters above 16ºC.

Shortfin Mako Distribution Map

Return to Lamnidae from Shortfin Mako

Return to World of Sharks


Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elsamobranchii
Order: Lamniformes
Family: Lamnidae
Genus: Isurus
Species: oxyrinchus

Shortfin Mako Jaw

Shortfin Mako Jaw

Recent Articles

  1. Thresher Sharks

    Aug 27, 14 10:51 AM

    Thresher sharks are unmistakable with that huge upper lobe on the caudal fin. Let's find out more about them.

    Read More

  2. Sharkwater

    Aug 14, 14 12:42 PM

    Sharkwater is a documentary by Rob Stewart highlighting the plight of the sharks in our oceans.

    Read More

  3. Natural Cleaners

    Aug 13, 14 08:57 AM

    Natural cleaners and homemade skincare products are not only better for the environment, they're better for you and your family.

    Read More