Advertisement

natureNaturenatureanimals
clockPUBLISHED

Super Rare Pregnant Megamouth Shark Washes Up In The Philippines

It's thought to be the first-ever recorded instance of a pregnant individual of this species.

author

Eleanor Higgs

author

Eleanor Higgs

Digital Content Creator

Eleanor is a content creator and social media assistant with an undergraduate degree in zoology and a master’s degree in wildlife documentary production.

Digital Content Creator

comments1Comment
share750Shares
Huge dead body of a megamouth shark on a beach with seaweed and sand

A megamouth shark like this one became stranded on a beach in the Philippines. 

Image credit: © Dr. Glenn Moore via iNaturalist (CC BY-NC)

There’s a lot we don’t know about life in the oceans of our planet. Rare species inhabit deep waters and new areas are discovered all the time, but sometimes, the only clues for understanding what lies beneath the waves are when they wash up on our shores. In the Dipaculao, Aurora region of the Philippines, a super rare megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) has washed up dead, with one dead young shark found next to her and a further six pups inside. This is, unfortunately, the first-ever record of a pregnant individual of this species. 

Megamouth sharks were only discovered in 1976; they are filter feeders like whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) and basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) and can weigh up to 1215 kilograms (2,700 pounds). Only around 120 individuals have been seen or captured since their discovery and researchers know precious little about their ecology and life history. 

Advertisement

The mother megamouth was found on November 14, measuring an impressive 5.6 meters in length (18.4 feet), whilst the seven total pups measured between 165 and 183.5 centimeters long (65 and 72.2 inches). It is not yet clear what caused the stranding and death of the sharks, but AA Yaptinchay at Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, who oversaw the necropsies, told New Scientist that sharks “usually expel their pups or eggs when they are captured or stranded” due to stress. Yaptinchay also reported that the mother showed no signs of injuries caused by boats or fishing equipment.

As unfortunate as the death of the mother megamouth shark and her pups is, it is hoped that the necropsies will yield more information about the physiology and lifestyle of this elusive fish species. Earlier this year, scientists were amazed to observe two megamouth sharks, filmed from a fishing boat, likely engaging in a courtship event. 


ARTICLE POSTED IN

natureNaturenatureanimals
  • tag
  • sharks,

  • fish,

  • animals,

  • Philippines,

  • megamouth shark

FOLLOW ONNEWSGoogele News