The Porbeagle Shark is a cold water shark that resembles a smaller Great White. It can also be known as the "Mackerel Shark" due to it's favourite prey choice, and can weigh as heavy as 600lbs!
Amazing Facts About the Porbeagle Shark
The Porbeagle Shark has a stout body shape that is streamlined for fast movement. Their name is thought to originate from their porpoise shaped bodies and their beagle-like hunting abilities! A Porbeagle Sharks identifying features include a sharp pointed nose with S shaped nostrils and a large curved mouth. The Porbeagle Shark is also one of many sharks with five gill slits!
Where do Porbeagle Sharks live?
All over! They are mainly known to inhabit the Northern Atlantic ocean but can be seen in the Southern Atlantic ocean, the Southern Indian ocean, the Southern Pacific ocean and the Antarctic ocean! Porbeagle Sharks are very versatile and can be found both close to and far from the shore.
If they live all over, how do they cope with different water temperatures?
Porbeagle Sharks choose areas that are warmer than 1°c but are colder than 17°c. These warm-bodied fish are endothermic and conserve heat through a special type of blood vessel. The counter-current exchange mechanism that these vessels carry out ensure the Porbeagle Shark can cope with temperature changes!
What do Porbeagle Sharks eat?
The Porbeagle Sharks first choice of prey are bony fish including mackerel and herring, but occasionally they enjoy cephalopods such as squid. When they’re not diving down to the ocean floor to catch dinner, they can often be seen stealing fish from longlining boats!
Are Porbeagle Sharks predators or prey?
Both! Porbeagle Sharks predate on species for food, but are also a target prey species for larger sharks.
Are Porbeagle Sharks social?
Porbeagle Sharks can live alone or in small schools, and are one of the only sharks proven to exhibit playful behaviour. This involves rolling around near the surface or playing with random objects. Porbeagle Sharks have even been caught chasing each other!
When it comes to mating, Porbeagle Sharks are ovoviviparous, meaning that there is no placental connection. Instead, the young feed on eggs within the uterus for vital nutrients. When female Porbeagle Sharks reach 18 years of age, they can undergo an 8-9 month gestation and produce 1-5 pups! Pups are usually born during spring and summer months depending on the geographic location.
What is the Porbeagle Sharks biggest threat?
Unfortunately, Porbeagle Sharks have been targeted by unsustainable fisheries for their popular, high value meat. Being a known game fish within the UK and Ireland, they are caught both intentionally and unintentionally as by-catch by commercial fishermen. As Porbeagle Sharks, are unable to reproduce until they are 18 years of age, they have a very low reproductive capacity. This means that the Porbeagle Shark population dramatically decreases when overfishing occurs, as there is not enough time to repopulate.
What can we do to help the Porbeagle Shark?
The Porbeagle Shark has been discussed for many years at CITES conferences, and at 2014’s CoP16 it was finally added to Appendix II. This great news means that there will be stricter regulations in trade of the Porbeagle Shark! Also in 2010, a new law stated that any Porbeagle Sharks caught in EU waters had to be recorded and released, giving a good update of population levels.
As consumers, buying sustainable fish products contributes towards the by-catch levels of Porbeagle Sharks and many other species.
Fun facts about the Porbeagle Shark:
- This shark has many nicknames, including the bottle-nose shark and bluedog!
- Scientists believe their main predators could be the great white shark and the orca.
- Porbeagle Sharks have a third eyelid, also known as a nictitating membrane, that protects their eyes.
- There are 30% more females present in Scottish waters than males!
Picture Credit: NMFS, E. Hoffmayer, S. Iglésias and R. McAuley (Wiki Commons User)
- Type: Fish
- Diet: Carnivore
- Lifespan: 25-46 years
- Size: up to 12ft
- Weight: 150-600lbs
- Habitat: Marine
- Range: Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, Mediterannean and Antarctic oceans
- Scientific Name: Lamna nasus