The Porbeagle Shark, also called Lamna nasus, comes from the family of Lamnidae sharks. It is mostly found in cold and temperate waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. This is a species of the mackerel shark and is a close relative of the Salmon Shark. The Porbeagle can reach over 8 feet (2.5 meters) in length and can gain a weight of 135 kilograms or 298 pounds. They are normally white at the bottom and grey on top giving it some nice camouflage for hunting. When looking at the shark from above, it is difficult to locate because of the grey color against the sea bed. Looking upwards, the white color blends with the ocean surface.
The shape of the Porbeagle Shark is very streamlined. They have a stout midsection that tapers into a pointed and long snout in the front. Towards the back, the large midsection fades into a narrow tail. It has large first dorsal and pectoral fins and very small anal, second dorsal and pelvic fins. The caudal fin is shaped like a crescent (half circle). The most noticeable features on the Porbeagle Shark is a white spot or blotch at the base of the first dorsal fin.
By the way, to learn more about the different types of fins sharks can have, visit the Shark Anatomy page.
The Porbeagle preys mainly on cephalopods and small bony fish. This shark is able to change its body temperature quickly, which enables the shark to adapt to a wide range of water temperatures. Mainly considered as the game shark, the Porbeagle Shark is well known for its playful behavior.
The Porbeagle is caught during fishing operations both on purpose and by accident. Most fishing is done by Norweagen fishing vessels. Aggressive fishing has resulted in their dwindling numbers during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Their low reproductive rate has also contributed to the population decrease of the Porbeagle population. The IUCN has labeled the Porbeagle Shark as “Vulnerable” and has become an endangered species.
The Porbeagle Shark is found in a multi-temperate distribution across the global seas. It is attracted to food-rich waters and is found mostly on continental shelves due to the high number of food sources.
You can mostly find this shark in the North Atlantic on the coasts of Greenland, Canada, Russia and Scandinavia. Further south, this shark can be spotted near Bermuda, New Jersey, Madeira, Brazil, Chile and Morocco. It has also been sighted in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Porbeagle is known to migrate long distances. It’s also known to shift between deep and shallow waters. The shark prefers the deep though and usually swims in waters that are about 1,350 meters or about 4,400 feet deep. On the flip side, it has also been sighted in waters that about a meter deep or just 3.3 feet.
As far as temperatures are concerned, these sharks have been reported in temperatures varying between 1 and 23 degrees Celsius or 34 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they seem to prefer temperatures between 5 and 10 degree Celsius or 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists believe they swim deep during the day and approach the surface at night. Younger sharks are known to prefer shallow waters and this is where they develop hunting skills while preying after smaller fish.
Despite their large size, the Porbeagle Sharks are not known to attack swimmers or boats. The International shark attack files document three human attacks and none of them were rendered fatal. One of these was provoked and two attacks were on boats. Although they are not considered particularly dangerous to humans as compared to other sharks, their mere size and speed should be enough to steer clear from! Recently, a few Porbeagle Sharks have charged at divers working near oil platforms, but it’s difficult to determine if this is a playful and curious behavior or an aggressive behavior. No physical injury has resulted from this behavior.
The Porbeagle Sharks are known to swim and prey individually, but they have also been found in groups while hunting larger prey. They are highly sought after by hobby fishers since they are known to tug on the line quite strongly. However, they generally do not leap into the air on the hook.
In the recent past, these Sharks were regarded as a pure nuisance by commercial fishers. This was because, they stole hooked fish from their lines and also damaged fishing gear intended for smaller fish.
The Porbeagle Shark’s reproductive cycles are not clearly known. Mating is known to happen during the months between September and November and can go on until January in a few places. Mating scars are also common on females. The males bite the female’s gills and pectoral fins which causes minor, yet non-life threatening injuries. Their favorite mating ground is the Gulf of Maine and Newfoundland.
It is assumed that females reproduce annually with a 9 month pregnancy. This shark is Viviparous, which means the eggs hatch and the pups develop inside the female mothers body.
Newborn pups are known to measure about 25 inches (about 60 centimeters) and the largest weighing part of the pup is the liver (about 10% of its weight). Male pups are known to mature at 5 to 6 feet in length (1.5 to 1.8 meters) and females are known to attain maturity at 6.5 to 7.2 feet (1.9 to 2.2 meters). At maturity, a male is aged between 6 and 11 years and females age to anywhere between 12 to 18 years. The rate of growth and attaining maturity is a variable factor depending upon the location where the Porbeagle Shark resides.