Mako sharks are and will remain to be among the dominating kings of the ocean. Their current numbers are not threatened, but need to be managed properly for furture generations to enjoy. They are a mystic, brute, and awe inspiring success in the evolution of earth's apex predators.
Shortfin makos are slow growing with males reaching maturity at at least 8 years of age and females not before 18 years of age. This, along with a three-year reproductive cycle, indicates that this species is quite vulnerable to the pressures of overfishing. Development is ovoviviparous. Embryos in the uterus are nourished by yolk stored in a yolk sac. There is no placental connection between mother and young. Once the young are hatched into each uterus, uterine cannibalism (known as oophagy) occurs. Oophagy is the ingestion of unfertilized or less developed eggs by a fetus that is more developed. Young are born after 15-18 month gestation period. Litters range from 8-10 pups measuring 68-70 cm (27-28 in).
Shortfin mako sharks live in tropical and temperate offshore waters. They are a pelagic species that occur from the surface down to depths of 150 meters (490 feet). This shark is seldom found in waters colder than 16 degrees Celsius. The shortfin mako is found worldwide. In the western Atlantic it can be found from Argentina and the Gulf of Mexico to Browns Bank off of Nova Scotia. In Canadian waters these sharks are not abundant as they prefer warm waters, but neither are they rare. Shortfin makos are often found in the same waters as swordfish as they are a source of food and both fish prefer similar environmental conditions.
Makos eat schooling fish, including tuna, herring, mackerel, swordfish, and porpoise. They are opportunistic feeders, eating just about anything. The Mako's teeth are long, thin, and sharp. This enables the shark to catch slippery fish, the mainstay of its diet. Sharks teeth are located in rows which rotate into use as needed. The first two rows are used in obtaining prey, the other rows rotate into place as they are needed. As teeth are lost, broken, or worn down, they are replaced by new teeth that rotate into place.
Both types of mako represent the largest, (13' and 1500 lbs.) fastest, most sophisticated species of pelagic shark on the planet. Pound for pound the mako is in all likely hood the most vigorous and powerful shark in the seas. An ancient relative Isurus hastilus is nearly identical in terms of tooth structure and function. The ancient mako hastilus was probably 20'+ long and nearly three tons; It was a Cretaceous Grand Mako that shared the seas with kronosaur, ichthyosaur and plesiosaur.
Longfin Mako (Isurus paucus). The longfin mako shark is distinguished from the shortfin mako shark by its significantly longer pectoral fins, even larger eyes and dark coloration on the underside of the snout and jaw extending about half way to the gills. Its teeth are also somewhat broader.
The Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) is probably the champion speedster among sharks. It is an open ocean sprinter, with a highly streamlined body, a lunate tail supported by keels, a sharply pointed snout, large eyes and some of the wickedest-looking teeth in sharkdom.
Shortfin mako sharks, Isurus oxyrinchus, aka makos, shortfins, short-finned makos, blue pointers, mackerel sharks, blue dynamites, bonitos, spriglios, palomas — are truly beautiful animals. They are well-adapted and active pelagic (open water) sharks. Like their cousin, the great white, they keep their body temperature warmer than the surrounding water using a high metabolic rate and efficient heat-exchange system.
The shark is one of the fastest fish in the sea. Every part of its body is perfect for the water--its light, flexible skeleton, its smooth, sleek shape, and its powerful fins and tail. These features mean some sharks are deadly hunters. Not all sharks are fast and fierce, though.
Sharks belong to a class of fishes known as Chondrichtyes, which is less formally referred to as the cartliaginous fishes. This class also includes skates, rays, chimaeras, and a huge number of extinct species extended back over 450 million years.