SharkoFiles: Porbeagle Shark – Sharkophile

The Porbeagle Shark is also known as Mackerel Shark or Porgie. It is called Mackerel shark simply because porbeagle shark feeds on mackerel. The porbeagle shark has a worldwide distribution ranging from the both sides of North Atlantic to North Africa coasts. The porbeagle can live comfortably in a cold water due to its ability to elevate its body temperature in contrast to the surrounding water it resides in.

The porbeagle sharks are commercially valuable as their flesh is highly demanded and considerably costlier than that of other species of sharks. In addition to the meat, their fins are likewise exported to Asia, where they are used to make shark fin soup. Owing to their size and power, as well as the pride of catching a large species of shark, the porbeagle shark is a very popular sport fish. Even though the porbeagle sharks are known to rarely attack humans,  they may be very aggressive when caught and are occasionally reported to attack their captors in this circumstance.

The length of the porbeagle tends to reach more than 8 feet and a weight of 135 kilograms. The species of shark is notable for its playful behavior.  In the past, they were considered by commercial fishermen as a sort of nuisance because they have the habit of stealing hooked fish from their lines and likewise damage fishing gear meant for catching smaller fish.

Despite the powerfully built body and big size of the porbeagle shark, yet it is still a prey to some bigger species of sharks such as the great white shark and the orca. Nevertheless, the biggest threat to the Porbeagle Shark is humans, specifically the fishermen who targeted this fish because of their commercial value. According to ICUN conservation status, the porbeagle are enlisted as a vulnerable and threatened species of shark. To ensure adequate protection are given to this species of shark, stricter regulations need to be implemented to curb excessive trade of the Porbeagle Shark.

The life span of the porbeagle shark is estimated between 25-46 years.

Taxonomy

The Porbeagle Shark is scientifically known as Lamna nasus. It comes from the family of Lamnidae sharks. 

Morphology

The porbeagle shark has a streamlined body shape with a stout midsection that tapers into a pointed and long snout upfront. This species of shark has a large first dorsal and pectoral fins with an extremely small anal, second dorsal and pelvic fins. The porbeagle shark has a crescent shape caudal fin. However, the most prominent feature exhibited by the porbeagle shark is the white spot or blotch located at the base of the first dorsal fin. The color appearance of the porbeagle shark is dark bluish-black color on its back, while the belly region has white color. They have large black eyes and small, smooth-edged narrow teeth having lateral cusps positioned at the base of each tooth.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Adaptation

The porbeagle shark has a heating regulating mechanism that increases the shark body temperature to around 3 to 8oC above the temperature of the surrounding water. This enables the shark to be more active and adapt to swimming in the cold water it inhabits. 

Feeding

The main diet of the porbeagle sharks is pelagic fishes, including herring, lancefish and, most commonly mackerel; nevertheless, they equally feed on redfish, cod, haddock squid, as well as shellfish. Marine mammals are not part of their diet.

Habitat

The Porbeagle Shark could be found in a multi-temperate areas across the world seas. Food-rich waters are generally attractive to this species of shark. Therefore, the shark can be mostly found on the continental shelves because of the abundance of food sources. This shark is known to shift between deep and shallow waters. The porbeagle sharks prefer to reside deep beneath the sea and often swim in waters at a depth of 4,400 feet. Notwithstanding, this shark has been discovered in waters with less than 4 feet deep. They prefer temperatures range between 1oC and 23oC. Meanwhile, the younger sharks are known to prefer shallow waters because it is where they are taught how to prey on smaller fish and develop their hunting skills.

Reproduction

The porbeagle shark has a not too comprehensible reproductive cycle. Nevertheless, the mating periods are believed to be carried out around September and November, which can continue till January in few locations. It is speculated that the gestation period of porbeagle shark is 9 months. The porbeagle sharks engage in a viviparous mode of reproduction. The size of newborn pups is around 25 inches. The females can give birth to between 1 and 5 pups, but produce 4 pups in most cases. The maturity stage of a male pup is attained at a body length growth of 5 to 6 feet, while the female pup reaches the maturity stage at a body length of 6.5 to 7.2 feet. It took the male about 6 and 11 years to reach maturity, while the age of a mature female porbeagle could be around 12 to 18 years.

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Latest Porbeagle Shark photos

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References

British sea fishing (2019). Porbeagle Shark. Retrieved from https://britishseafishing.co.uk/porbeagle-shark/

OneKind Planet (2016). Porbeagle Shark. Retrieved from https://onekindplanet.org/animal/porbeagle-shark/

SeaPics.com (2019). Porbeagle shark photos- A fast shark vulnerable to extinction. Retrieved from http://seapics.com/feature-subject/sharks/porbeagle-shark-pictures-001.html

SHARK SIDER (2019). PORBEAGLE SHARK FACTS. Retrieved from https://www.sharksider.com/porbeagle-shark/

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Source: https://www.sharkophile.com/2019/02/01/sharkofiles-porbeagle-shark/

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