Some Interesting Facts About Mako Sharks that You Should Know
At this year’s CITES Conference of the Parties, a global wildlife trade meeting held in Geneva recently, the wildlife conservationists have proposed to strengthen protections for both shortfin and longfin mako sharks. The proposal was adopted on August 25 after a 102-40 secret ballot vote at the global wildlife trade summit. Generally hunted for their meat and fins, the mako sharks were listed under Appendix II, meaning that they can’t be traded unless it can be shown that fishing wouldn’t threaten their chances for survival.
While sharks are known to be one of the most dangerous species, their decline is on a rise, given the illegal hunting, trading and fishing. As the parties put a demand to conserve these aquatic animals, here is a list of some interesting facts about mako sharks that one should know:
* Mako Sharks, also called the Blue Pointer Sharks or Bonito Sharks, are two species of sharks in the Mackerel Shark family. Interestingly, Mako sharks are the fastest sharks in the world, and can swim at a record speed of 60 mph (96 kph). In fact, the speed also makes it the fastest creatures on the Earth. This speed has earned them the nickname “The Peregrine Falcon of the Sea.”
* There are two species of mako sharks: the shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrhinchus) and the longfin mako (Isurus paucus). While shortfin mako which got its scientific name in 1810, the longfin mako wasn’t recognized as its own separate species until 1966. While the largest longfin mako is of the length of about 4.5 meters (14ft) and weighs in around 170 kilograms (375 pounds), shortfin sharks are usually about half this size and weight.
* While there have been no attacks on humans recorded from Shortfin sharks, longfin sharks have attacked humans before, as a result of fishing and preying by humans.
* Mako Sharks have the largest brain to body ratios out of all sharks. With impressive critical reasoning and social skills, they rely on smell, hearing, and vision to navigate the oceans. In fact, while they quickly identify if a human is a threat to them, they allow researchers to hand feed them and touch them.
* Mako Sharks do not produce babies often. In fact, the mating cycles only happen once every 1.5 years, where after the gestation periods lasts for eighteen months. Since female Mako Sharks do not reach sexual maturity until 19-20 years, and only live an average of 30 years, a Mako Shark may only give birth only 3 times in their entire lives.
* Beginning in December 2004, biologist Gonzalo Mucientes and his colleagues spent four months gathering data on sharks in the southeastern Pacific. Unexpectedly, they found adult shortfin makos practicing sexual segregation. On one side of an imaginary, north-south line between Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and the Pitcairn Islands, the team discovered male shortfins almost exclusively. The other side yielded many more females than males. Another study noticed this same kind of sexual divide among shortfin makos in the north Pacific. Scientists theorized that adult shortfin makos steer clear of the opposite sex for extended periods so the females who aren’t looking to reproduce can avoid harassment from males.
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