Megachasma pelagios 

3-MEGAMOUTH-SHARK-MEGACHASMA_PELAGIOS.jpg

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
This shark has an unmistakable large, long head with a short, rounded snout. It has a huge terminal mouth extending behind its eyes.

COLOR

The body is grey on the top (light margins to blackish pectoral and pelvic fins), and white below with dark spotting on the lower jaw.

SIZE
Males begin to mature at about 13.1 ft [400 cm] while females mature at about 16.4 ft [500 cm]. Its maximum length may be more than 18 ft [550 cm].

TEETH
Numerous small, hooked teeth

HABITAT
Oceanic, coastal and offshore, 16.4 to 131.2 ft [5 to 40 m] on continental shelf, 26.2 to 544.6 ft [8 to 166 m] offshore over very deep water.

DISTRIBUTION
Probably world-wide in the tropics (not many records).

BIOLOGY
Prey – Feeds on plankton, particularly shrimp, possibly by suction.
Reproduction – Unknown, but presumed viviparous with oophagy.

BEHAVIOR
Probably migrates vertically with plankton, close to the surface at night, and deeper by day. May have luminescent tissue inside its mouth to attract prey.

STATUS: This species was first discovered in 1976, and has been rarely recorded since that time.