Longfin Mako Shark

Isurus paucus

Last updated: July 28, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.com

Longfin Mako Shark Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Chondrichthyes
Order
Lamniformes
Family
Lamnidae
Genus
Isurus
Scientific Name
Isurus paucus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Longfin Mako Shark Conservation Status

Longfin Mako Shark Locations

Longfin Mako Shark Locations

Longfin Mako Shark Facts

Prey
Swordfish, tuna, porpoises, other sharks, mackerel, and bonito.
Main Prey
Fish
Name Of Young
Pups
Group Behavior
  • Solitary
Biggest Threat
Humans
Most Distinctive Feature
Long pectoral fins
Distinctive Feature
Very long pectoral fins and blueish-grey appearance.
Other Name(s)
Blue Pointer and Sharp-nosed Mako shark
Gestation Period
15-18 months
Habitat
Tropical, subtropical, and temperate oceans
Predators
Orca whales
Diet
Carnivore
Lifestyle
  • Nocturnal/Crepuscular
Common Name
Longfin Mako shark
Special Features
Pectoral fins that are longer than their heads length.
Number Of Species
1
Migratory
1

Longfin Mako Shark Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Blue
  • White
  • Light Grey
  • Dark Grey
Lifespan
28-35 years
Venomous
No
Aggression
Medium

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The Longfin Mako shark (Isurus paucus) is a species of Mackerel shark that can be found in both temperate and tropical waters and is one of the two species of Mako shark.

This shark was given its name for its abnormally long pectoral fins that can extend past its head. They are commonly referred to as Sharp-nosed Mackerel sharks or Blue Pointers in Australia.

They are a type of predatory shark that many researchers often mistake for being their better-known close relative, the Shortfin Mako shark, which is why there is very little documentation on this specific shark. It is believed that this shark is less active than their close relatives and is warm-blooded (endothermic) which enables them to maintain a higher body temperature than the surrounding water which is why they can be found in such varying waters worldwide.

The Longfin Mako shark can grow to a very large size, with impressively sized pectoral fins. They have a relatively simple diet and are not used for commercial purposes. There are many interesting facts and information to know about the Longfin Mako shark which we will discuss below!

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3 Interesting Longfin Mako Shark Facts

  • The Longfin Mako shark can grow up to 14 feet (4.3m) in length and the females grow larger than their male counterparts.
  • There are no documented reports of a Longfin Mako shark attacking humans.
  • They have a structure of countercurrent exchangers which are blood vessels that allow them to keep their body temperature higher than their surrounding environment.

Longfin Mako Shark Appearance

The Longfin Mako shark is a very large species of shark that can grow to around 14 feet (4.5m) when they reach adulthood. They can also weigh a whopping 1,100 pounds (500 Kg), with females growing slightly larger than males. They have a long, slender body that is streamlined and has a greyish-blue coloring similar to many species of shark.

It is possible for some Longfin Mako sharks to be slightly darker blue in color, but all have a white underside. They have an impressively pointed snout with very sharp and long teeth that protrude from their mouths. This shark’s most distinctive feature is its long pectoral fins that can be longer than their head’s length, which is what sets them apart from the Shortfin Mako sharks, although the two are often misidentified.



Longfin Mako Sharks are found throughout the tropical waters of the world's oceans.
Longfin Mako Sharks are found throughout the tropical waters of the world’s oceans.

©Martin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock.com

Longfin Mako Shark Distribution, Population, and Habitat

Where To Find Longfin Mako Sharks:

The Longfin Mako shark is distributed throughout the world in both temperate and tropical waters, although they seem to prefer tropical waters. They are migratory sharks that have long migrations every year to find better waters that are within their ideal temperature range and have a better food source. Since they are migratory, they can travel across whole oceans but are primarily found off the Eastern coasts of the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Seas, and the Indian Ocean to the Western Coast of Africa.

You will find the Longfin Mako shark inhabiting the salty seas off the coast of:

Longfin Mako Shark Conservation Status

Both Longfin and Shortfin Mako sharks are considered to be endangered according to the IUCN because this species is a target for commercial fisheries and sports with human intervention being the main reason that the Longfin Mako shark is considered endangered. This shark species was first considered to be threatened in 2007 and vulnerable in 2019, however they are now endangered.

Habitat

The typical habitat of a Longfin Mako shark ranges from temperate, tropical, and subtropical oceans, and they are considered to be pelagic which means that they inhabit the open ocean. These sharks can be found in deep depths from the surface at around 500 feet deep. Since they are endothermic, they can live in warmer waters except for extremely cold waters in the Arctic and Antarctica.

Longfin Mako Sharp Predators and Prey

Predators

Longfin Mako sharks are natural predators and the only predator of this species is humans who are causing the population’s numbers to decline because humans accidentally catch these sharks in nets, or for sports, and commercial fishing. All these factors have led to the Longfin Mako shark being endangered. The only natural predator of this shark is the Orca whale.

Prey (Diet)

The Longfin Mako shark typically feeds off of bony fish, such as mackerel, swordfish, bonito, and tuna. They will also occasionally feed on other sharks, sea birds, turtles, and porpoises depending on what waters they are currently inhabiting. The temperature will affect the types of prey they eat in their diet because they are a migratory species that will find prey in all sorts of waters they choose to inhabit. They have a very fast metabolism and eat around 4.5 pounds of fish per day, requiring 3% of their body weight in food to survive.

Longfin Mako Shark Reproduction and Lifespan

Longfin Mako sharks are ovoviviparous which means that they can only mate through internal fertilization with a male and female shark of the same species. The female will give birth to live pups that do not connect with the mother shark through a placenta.

The gestation period for a female Longfin Mako shark to be pregnant is between 15 to 18 months. After this time, only 4 to 18 juvenile Longfin Mako sharks will be born at only 28 inches (70 cm) in size. It is estimated that female Longfin Mako sharks only give birth every three years as the females have a resting period of nearly 2 years before they decide to mate again.

The average Longfin Mako shark can live between 28 to 35 years on average. However, since they are now considered endangered, they are not reaching their natural lifespan because human intervention is the biggest threat to the survival of this shark.

Longfin Mako Shark Population

Longfin Mako sharks are considered to be endangered because they are often captured by commercial fisheries which have led to a steady decline in their population size. These sharks are pelagic and populate various waters around the world that have warmer temperatures.

There is not much documentation on the exact population size of Longfin Mako sharks in the world, but the endangered status of these sharks makes them less common than many other shark species. There are estimated to be fewer Longfin Mako sharks inhabiting our oceans in comparison to their close relatives the Shortfin Mako shark.

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About the Author

I am a big animal lover that not only enjoys owning and getting to care for them, but also to write about them! I own many fish, along with shrimp, hamsters and a docile tarantula. Writing has become my passion and I am grateful to be able to write about the animals I love so dearly so that I can share my knowledge and expertise in the articles I write.

Longfin Mako Shark FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Where Are Long-Fin Mako Sharks Found?

This shark is found in open waters at depths around 500 feet deep in temperate and tropical waters. They also migrate to different oceans and can primarily be found in the western Atlantic oceans, Gulf Stream waters, southeastern Florida, north of the Hawaiian Islands, and northern Cuba.

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Sources
  1. Wikipedia , Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longfin_mako_shark
  2. Oceana , Available here: https://oceana.org/marine-life/longfin-mako-shark/
  3. Sharks Info , Available here: https://sharksinfo.com/longfin-mako-shark-sharks-info/

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