Sharks. Some people love them, some people hate them, but, no matter the case, you shouldn’t fear them. In fact, if I could have it my way, I’d encourage everyone to find fascination in sharks. There are so many different species of sharks, and some of them get pretty darn weird. Today, however, we’re talking about one specific shark, the Megamouth shark.
These guys are pretty funky lookin’. They’ve got large mouths that extend beyond their eyes and their heads are quite round. With these features, they tend to look like an awkward middle schooler at class photos before they’ve quite figured out how to smile for the camera. Other than their looks, however, there isn’t much we know about them. According to the Shark Research Institute, we know they feed on plankton, but as of now we can only guess that they probably use suction to do so. As for reproduction, we don’t know, and can only make general guesses based on similar species. Size wise, we know the males are typically around 13 feet long and the females generally grow to around 16.5 feet, but it’s entirely possible that they could grow to be larger than 18 feet.
The Megamouth shark was first discovered in 1976, and since then, there’s only been 273 confirmed sightings. A massive majority of those sightings have taken place around Taiwan, where they’re often caught on accident by commercial drift nets. In the United States, there’s only been about 16 sightings, mostly off the coast of California. But, on September 11th, 2022, off the coast of San Diego, three fishermen saw something completely unseen by the human eye (as far as we know).
Up until this year, the Megamouth has only ever been spotted alone. David Stabile, Andrew Chang, and Val Costescu, 30 miles off the shore of San Diego, spotted not just one, but two of these goofy lookin’ sharks. The first, a male, appeared to be around 381 cm (12.1 ft.), and the second, who’s gender is unknown, appeared to be around 472 cm (~15.4 ft.). The individuals who spotted the sharks described them both as very gentile and docile.
We know so little about our oceans. According to National Geographic, more than 80% of the ocean is unmapped and unexplored. To me, that’s INSANE. So, at least in my mind, any sort of new sighting is worth talking about!
Image Credit: Florida Museum via YouTube