Sharks play an essential rol in the health of our oceans


A Great Lookalike!

Salmon Shark, picture by E. Sullivan

Some time ago, we made a classic mistake, and published a picture of a ‘beached great white’. Thanks to our Facebook follower Melissa Michaelson, we now know we published a picture of a salmon shark. We thought the location mentioned (Sunset State Beach, California) was too far south for salmon sharks, but we were wrong. To our defense, we weren’t the only ones, and the animal on the beach was splashing around a lot. But still: we should have known better!

World distribution map for the salmon shark (map courtesy of Florida Museum of Natural History)

The salmon shark (Lamna ditropis) is a fast hunter, and is sometimes mistaken for the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). It has shorter snout and the dusky blotches that mark the white abdomen of adults. The rest of the salmon shark’s stocky, spindle-shaped body is dark blue-grey or blackish, with white blotches around the base of the pectoral fins. The first dorsal fin is large, while the second dorsal and anal fins are tiny and are able to pivot. It has a crescent-shaped tail.

The salmon shark feeds on Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus) that migrate along the coasts and it can hunt in schools, but it can also hunt lancetfishes, daggerteeth , lumpfishes, mackerel and pollock.  It generally grows to between 200 and 260 cm (79–103 in) in length and weigh up to 220 kg (485 lbs), but maximum length has been established at 3.7 m, (168 in) with a weight of 454 kgs (1000 lbs). Lifespan is estimated at 20 years (females) to 27 years (males).

It status on the IUCN Red list is currently ‘Least concern’, populations seem to be stable.
Read more about the Salmon Shark:



See a salmon shark hunt:

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