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  The shortfin mako has a wide distribution. It is found in tropical and temperate waters throughout the world's oceans. In North America it ranges from California to Chile in the Pacific and from the Grand Banks to the hump of Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea in the Atlantic. It is commonly seen in offshore waters from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras. In the eastern Atlantic the shortfin mako ranges from Norway to South Africa, including the Mediterranean and it is found throughout the Indian Ocean from South Africa to Australia. In the western Pacific it ranges from Japan to New Zealand and in the central Pacific it occurs from the Aleutian Islands to the Society Islands. Color is brilliant metallic blue dorsally and white ventrally. The line of demarcation between blue and white on the body is distinct. The underside of the snout and the area around the mouth are white. The latter is important because is helps differentiate the shortfin from the longfin mako, which has a darkly pigmented mouth region. Color is related to size. Larger specimens tend to possess darker color that extends onto parts of the body that are white in smaller individuals. The juvenile mako differs in that it has a clear blackish stain on the tip of the snout.
  The shortfin mako is the fastest shark, capable of attaining speeds of up to 32 km/h (20 mph), and leaping skillfully out of the water. The mako holds the speed record for long distance travel: approximately 2130 km (1320 miles) in 37 days for an average of about 58 km (36 miles) per day. The shortfin mako feeds on other fast-moving pelagic fishes such as swordfish, tunas, and other sharks as well as squid. The stomach contents of sharks caught in gillnets off Natal, South Africa, showed a 60 to 40 ratio of shark to bony fish, while a study from the northeastern United States found 77.5 percent of the mako diet was bluefish. Marine mammals and sea turtles are rarely ingested by this species.Due to its beauty, aggressiveness, and jumping ability, the shortfin mako is considered one of the great gamefishes of the world. Shortfin makos are caught with trolled baits and lures as well as with live or dead baits fished from anchored or drifting boats.

The mouth is parabolic, or bowl-shaped, with the first teeth of the lower jaw aligned in a continuous row. The large, triangle-shaped, narrow hooked teeth have razor-sharp smooth edges. They are blade-like without basal cusps or serrations. Teeth of both the upper and lower jaw are roughly uniform in size and shape with the first two teeth on either side of the mandibular symphyses being longer and more slender than the rest. Teeth of the lower jaw are visible even when the jaw is shut while the upper teeth remain partially hidden except when the jaw is projected outwards. A) Upper and lower teeth of Isurus oxyrichusB) view of anterior portion of jaw, ex Bigelow & Schroeder (1948) FNWA

  Although oceanic species, the shortfin mako's power, aggressiveness, teeth and great speed, make it a danger to humans. Shortfin makos have been blamed for a number of nonfatal and fatal attacks on humans. Divers who have encountered shortfin makos note that they swim in a figure eight pattern and approach with mouths open prior to an attack. Shortfin makos frequently damage boats and injure fishers after being hooked.

Jose Castro, a shark expert at the Mote Marine Laboratory Center for Shark Research in Sarasota, noted makos are among the few of more than 450 shark species that are commercially exploited.
Some anglers who heard of the Fort Myers Beach catch criticized McQuade and Trammell on an Internet forum for killing a fish so rare in the Gulf. But Castro discounted such worries.
“Makos are commercially caught by the sword fishing fleet and by most of the tuna fleet in tremendous numbers, so one being caught by recreational fishermen would have a negligible impact on the populations,” Castro said. “Thousands and thousands of mako sharks are caught in the commercial fisheries.”


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