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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Megamouth Shark Megachasma pelagios

This gigantic shark was discovered as recently as 1976, when one became entangled in the folds of a ship’s sea anchor.

Like the whale shark and basking shark, it is a filter feeder, gulping down huge mouthfuls of shrimp, which it probably compresses with its huge tongue. At night it follows the shrimp toward the surface and is thought to attract them with bioluminescent tissue inside its mouth.

Megamouth Shark habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Lamniformes
  • Length At least 18 ft (5.5 m)
  • Weight Not recorded
  • Depth 0–540 ft (0–165 m)
  • Distribution Little known, but probably worldwide in the tropics