Megamouth Shark

Megachasma pelagios
Megamouth Shark - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Megachasma pelagios
Other names Megamouth, Megashark, Large-mouth Shark
Size Up to 5.7 m (18.7 ft)
Weight Over 1,215 kg (2,679 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Oceanic offshore waters throughout the water column
Depth Range 5 - 1,500 m (16 - 4,921 ft)
Megamouth Shark Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The megamouth shark is a rare species of deep-water shark found in the waters off Western Australia. It is typically found in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans.
  • They have a large, roundish body shape with a bulbous head that accounts for about one-third of its total body length. Its skin is dark grey to black on the dorsal side, with a wide, fleshy mouth lined with small, hooked teeth.
  • The megamouth is a filter feeders and have a wide, fleshy mouth lined with hundreds of tiny teeth used to filter small organisms from the water.
  • These sharks are slow swimmers and have a relatively small caudal fin (tail) compared to other sharks.
  • The megamouth shark has bioluminescent organs in its mouth that attract prey, similar to other deep-sea organisms.
  • Megamouth sharks are oviparous, but due to their rarity and deep-sea habitat, little is known about their reproductive behaviour. It is believed that megamouth sharks have a slow reproductive rate, with females giving birth to relatively small litters of one or two pups every few years.
  • The gestation period and age of sexual maturity of megamouth sharks are unknown, but they are thought to have a long lifespan of up to 100 years.
Species Interaction


Megamouth sharks have very limited interaction with humans due to their deep-sea habitat and rarity. Most encounters with these sharks occur when they are accidentally caught in fishing nets or observed during scientific expeditions.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Chondrichthyes

Order: Lamniformes

Family: Megachasmidae

Genus: Megachasma

Species: Megachasma pelagios

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Megamouth Shark in Australia is listed as “Data Deficient” by the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. This means that there is not enough information available to determine the level of threat facing the species in Australian waters. However, globally, the species is listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List due to its rarity and vulnerability to accidental capture by fisheries.

Elusive / Overlooked Species

Finding: Difficult

Temperament: Peaceful

Location: Deepsea

Danger: None