Summary of Megamouth Sharks, Megachasma pelagios
Taylor, Compagno & Struhsaker, 1983

Thanks to Dave Ebert, Leonard Campagno, John Morrissey, Tom Haight, Alex Buttigieg (large number of missing photos), Ton Egbers, Victor Lin, Miguel A. Romero, Otto Gadig, Shih-Chu Yang and John Y. Wang for information or photos. See also http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Sharks/Megamouth/mega.htm with links to accounts of the captures of some of the specimenes. Featured Elasmobranch (species) March 2005 at Pacific Shark Research Center, MLML.

Photo/ID Date Location Sex TL (m) M (kg)
(CF)
PCL (m) Comments and Reference
In Mass column, CF = condition factor = M/TL^3
#1 holotype
MpImages/megamouth1976.gif
15 Nov 1976

Oahu, Hawaii
(21o 51' N, 157o 46'W)

M 4.460   3.091
69.3% TL
Adult male. Taylor, Compagno & Struskaker (1983).
#2
MpImages/meg2.jpg
29 Nov 1984 California M 4.490     Lavenberg and Seigel (1985).
#3
MpImages/meg3.jpg
18 Aug 1988 Western Australia M 5.150   3.430
66.6% TL
Mature male. Berra and Huchins (1990).
#4
MpImages/meg4.jpg
23 Jan 1989 Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan M ~4     Nakaya (1989).
#5 June 1989 Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan F* ~4.9     Miya et al. (1992). *Most likely a female (John Morrissey)
#6
21 Oct 1990 California M 4.9     Fitted with two ultrasonic transmitters and tracked for two days. Lavenberg (1991). Additinal photos by Tom Haight: #1; #6; #20.
#7
MpImages/meg7.jpg
29 Nov 1994 Hakata Bay, Fukuoka, Japan
(34o 40' N, 130o 50'E)
F 4.710   3.136
66.6% TL
First ever female (but see #5), immature. Castro et al. in Yano, Morrissey, Yabumoto, and Nakaya, eds. (1997).
#8 4 May 1995 Senegal M ~1.8     Immature male. Séret (1995).
#9
MpImages/meg9.jpg
18 Sep 1995 Brazil M 1.9     Immature male. Amorim et al. (1995, AES abstract); F.Amorim, A.F., C.A. Arfelli, & J.I. Castro (2000).
#10
MpImages/meg10.jpg
30 Apr 1997 Mikizaki, Owase City, Japan F 5.44    

150 m deep, Yano et al. (1999).

#11
MpImages/megamouth11.jpg
20 Feb. 1998 Cagayan de Oro, Philippines M 5.49     M. Amorim, A.F., C.A. Arfelli, & J.I. Castro (2000).
#12 23 Apr 1998 Osawe, Honshu, Japan F 5.20     Amorim, A.F., C.A. Arfelli, & J.I. Castro (2000).
#13
MpImages/mega13.jpg
30 Aug. 1998 Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia F ~5.0     Observed being attacked by sperm whales (Pecchioni P. $ Benoldi C. 1999; Amorim, A.F., C.A. Arfelli, & J.I. Castro 2000).
#14
MpImages/mega14.jpg
1 Oct. 1999 San Diego, California F 5.18     On October 1, 1999, a megamouth shark (female, aprox. 17 ft) was caught in a drift gillnet and released alive in good condition. A National Marine Fisheries Service observer was aboard the commercial swordfish vessel, 30 miles west of San Diego, California. The observer was able to take four color photographs including one of the upper jaw (white lip) / lower jaw (dark spots on white chin) and others of the underside of body (no visible claspers). Water depth at this location is 190 fms. and water temperature was 67.2 F. This is the third (November 1984, October 1990) megamouth caught off Southern California in a drift gillnet targeting swordfish. Don.Petersen@noaa.gov

#15
mega15.htm
19 Oct. 2001 California M ~5.5 FL     On October 19, 2001, another Megamouth shark (male, approx. 18 ft. fork length) was caught in a drift gillnet and released alive in good condition. A U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service observer was aboard the commercial swordfish vessel, approx. 42 miles northwest of San Diego, California. The observer was able to collect a tissue biopsy and take many color photographs including one of the upper jaw with white lip and lower jaw with dark spots on a white chin. The observer also noted the presence of claspers. Water depth at this location is 460 fms. and the sea surface temperature was 65.8 F. This is the fourth (November 1984, October 1990, October 1999) Megamouth shark caught off Southern California in a drift gillnet targeting swordfish. If you are interested in seeing the photos, please go to the following web site: http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/mega15.htm Don Petersen
#16
MEGAMOUTH 1.jpg
18 Jan 2002 East Indian Ocean
(2o 17.9' S, 88o 12.7'E)
M 2.35

~120
(9.2)

  Tuna purse seine, discarded (John Morrissey). One more composite jgp. All photos copyright Sopana Boonyapiwat. For more information see http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Sharks/Megamouth/Mega16.htm
#17
20 Apr 2002

Natures Valley, Western Cape Province, South Africa
(33o 59' S, 23o 34'E)

F

~4

    On 20 April 2002, a large shark was stranded at Natures Valley (33o 59' S, 23o 34'E) in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Initial reports suggested that it was a whale shark, but subsequent reports and digital photographs confirmed that it was a megamouth, Megachasma pelagios. Dr Vic Cockcroft of the Centre for Dolphin Studies collected it from the beach to ensure that it was not washed out to sea again. It is the first record of this species in South Africa and the Western Indian Ocean and is the 17th discovered world-wide since its discovery off Hawaii was announced in 1976. It was iced early the next morning and collected by Dr Malcolm Smale and Matt Dicken and brought back to the Port Elizabeth Museum. It was placed in a scientific freezer and frozen to -20o C. A preliminary examination showed that the animal, approximately 4m long and female was in reasonable condition, but the skin was scuffed and there was some damage to the fins. It will be examined, measured and dissected by Drs Malcolm Smale (Port Elizabeth Museum) & Leonard Compagno (South African Museum) in early May. Various samples, including tissues for DNA analyses will be saved for future research. Taxidermists will make a mould of the animal for educational displays in museums. Elasmo-L posting by M. Smale on 23 April 2002.
#18

06 Jan 2003 Philippines   ~4.97     #18 was caught in Philippines .
More info at http://www.sharkmans-world.com and http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Sharks/Megamouth/mega.htm
#19
26 May 2003 California   6.1-7.6 ~5000  

#19 reportedly sighted in California. More info at http://www.SHARKMANS-WORLD.ORG and http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Sharks/Megamouth/mega.htm

#20
MpImages/MegaMouth#20Taiwan.jpg
03 Jul 2003 Hualien Province
Taiwan
M ~2.5 ~490?
(31.4)
  The shark was caught on July 4, 2003 in Hualien Province, Taiwan, 800 meters off the coast. It was about 2.5 meters long and allegedly weighed 490kg. Victor Lin identfied claspers in the original photo so it`s a male.
Victor Lin translated a newspaper clipping about this mystery fish dated 4 July 2003.
Po-Feng Lee received pictures from Mr. Lee about this megamouth shark landing in east Taiwan. Thanks.
#21
MpImages/meg21.jpg
07 Aug 2003 Omaezaki, Sizuoka Japan M 4.30     Omaezaki, Sizuoka Japan; 7-August-2003; 430 cm; Tokai University (taxidermy).
#22
MpImages/MpPeru23032004.jpg

08 Mar 2004
0700h

Off Peru /Equador
Lat 02 deg 54.374'
Long 81 deg 14.858'

M

4.20

    Information from Miguel A. Romero sent to Otto Gadig on 26 March 2004: Captured in northern Peru near the border with Ecuador. May be the first record in the eastern South Pacific. Miguel is writing a note for the SSG website. (Add URL once it's up.)
#23

13 Mar 2004 Gapang Beach, northern tip of Sumatra, Indonsia M 1.767 13.82
(2.50)
1.144
(64.7 %TL)
I think there can be no doubt anymore that the shark specimen that washed ashore here today on Gapang Beach, less than 30 meters away from our doorstep, literally, is the rare shark species Megachasma pelagios. Thanks for the attention so far, Ton Egbers.
Additional morphometrics: Caudal length 62 cm, Pectorals 33 cm Additional photos: #243;. #244; #249; lumbalumba diving center for more info and pics.
White, Fahmi, and Kurnaen (2004). A juvenile megamouth shark Megachasma pelagios (Lamniformes: Megachasmidae) from Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The Raffels Bulletin of Zoology 52(2): 603-607. (5MB PDF)

#24
MpImages/meg24japan2004.jpg

19 Apr 2004 Tokyo Bay near Ichihara City F 5.63 1215
(6.8)
  A rare megamouth deep-sea shark is displayed after being discovered in Tokyo Bay near Ichihara City, in this handout photo released by the Natural History Museum and Institute, April 22, 2004. The shark measures 5.63 meters (18.47 feet) in length, 2,679 lbs in weight, and its mouth is 1.15 meters (3.77 feet) in diameter, which the museum says is the world's largest of its kind yet reported. Thanks to Alex Buttigieg for posting information
#25
MpImages/meg25.jpg
23 Apr 2004 Off Ajiro, Shizuoka Japan F ~4.9
5.5?
>1000?   Megamouth Shark #25 Caught Off Ajiro, Shizuoka Japan
April 23, 2004 Sources of Information: Masami Furuta Toba Aquarium
Newspaper article in Japanese mentions TL = 5.5 and 5.6 m and weight of "1", implying over 1 ton (V. Lin).
#26
MpImages/MpNo24_01.jpg
4 Nov 2004
5 pm
Barangay Namocon, Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines F 5.04 ~1000
(7.8)
  From David Greenfield <greenfie@hawaii.edu>
#24 is now at SEAFDEC FishWorld, SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department,Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines. Stranded alive at Barangay Namocon, Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines at 4 PM and died at 10 PM.
The Manila Bulletin Online has complete story.
Additional photo and other details.
#27
MpImages/meg27.jpg
23 Jan 2005 off Kiseicho Nishiki, Mie, Japan F 5.28    

Megamouth Shark #27 Captured In Purse Seine off Japan
Sources of Information: Masami Furuta Toba Aquarium
A megamouth shark was captured with a purse seine set off the coast of Kiseicho Nishiki, Mie, Japan. The purse seine was set at a depth of 200 meters around 5:00am on January 23, 2005. We received a phone call informing us of the possible catch of a megamouth shark. We went to the fishing port but by the time we arrived, the megamouth was already dead. This megamouth was a female with a body length of 528 centimeters. The megamouth was hoisted onto a truck with the assistance of a lift and was transported to the Toba Aquarium where it was placed in a freezer. In the near future, we will taxidermy this animal for display at the aquarium.

#28
MpImages/meg28.jpg


30 Jan 2005 Cagayan de Oro City, Island Mindanao, Philippines F? 4.17 ~1000
(13.8)
 

Megamouth found dead in Cagayan de Oro
BenCyrus G. Ellorin / MindaNews / 30 January 2005. Thanks to Alex Buttigieg for update.
For details and photos click here.

#29 ~ 25 Apr 2005 Hualien, Eastern Taiwan     580   First of four was caught about a week befor the second one on May 2, 2005.
#30 02 May 2005 Hualien, Eastern Taiwan     580   Second one was caught on May 2. All four were purchased by the same fish processor who said they were all the same species (pretty distinctive). The first two were both 580 kg each. They were sold for consumption.
#31
MpImages/Mp4May05-017.jpg
04 May 2005 Hualien, Eastern Taiwan F 4.8
PCL?
689
(6.2)
 

Third one of four:
This female megamouth shark was caught in Hualien, central eastern Taiwan. The carcass is now in the hands of Dr. Kwung-Tsao Shao at the Academia Sinica. The specimen was in excellent shape and on ice - never frozen. It wasn't out in the sun for more than minutes. It was caught about 2 am and was still alive. Died about an hour later. It was landed at port at about 9:30 am on May 4 (Taiwan time).
Thanks for information and photos to Shih-Chu Yang and John Y. Wang and Victor Lin.

#32
MpImages/meg32.jpg

05 May 2005 Hualien, Eastern Taiwan F 5.7
PCL?
807
(4.4)
  Fourth one of four:
Was sold directly to Kwung-Tsao Shao (Academia Sinica) and was shipped to the Taipei Zoo for dissection (as was the thrid specimen).

#33
MpImages/T001-001.jpg

05 June 2005 Hualien, Eastern Taiwan M ~3.5-4.0 400-500  

The fishermen in Hualien got another megamouth...I guess it's #33? Because it was Sunday and the fishery office isn't open, length and weight were not taken at the dock buy according to the dealer the weight was 400~500kg and closer to 500kg. . I have asked the fisherman to save some vertebra and muscle tissue for me. There was an earthquake the day before, and this megamouth shows up. Just like last time. according to the dealer is 400~500kg and closer to 500kaccording to the dealer is 400~500kg.

This shark was in bad shape when Victor Lin rushed to the dock two days after capture. The tail was broken when hung onto the boat. The first half was about 1.75 m and tail end about 178cm . The whole right upper jaw was gone. It probably "slipped" into the sea when they hooked the shark and broke the jaw.

#34

26 Jan 2006 Off Bayawan coast, ~100 km south of Dmaguete City, Central Visayas, Philippines island of Negros   ~5 ~1000  


Hundreds of residents of Bayawan City in southern Oriental Negros woke up yesterday to the sight of the biggest fish they ever saw following the accidental capture by fishermen of a rare five-meter megamouth shark. The shark, which was estimated to weigh one ton, was found by fishermen struggling to free itself from a net just off the Bayawan coast, some 100 kilometers south of Dumaguete City. Thanks to Alex Buttigieg for information and BenCyrus G. Ellorin for correction on location.

#35

12 Mar 2006 Macajalar Bay in Northern Mindanao, Philippines F 2.26 60-80
(5.2-6.9)
 

BenCyrus G. Ellorin:
I have checked with our counterpart in the Bureau of Fisheries
and Aquatic Resources and was informed that Megamouth 35 is confirmed. Was dead when i was braught ashore after being entangled ina fisherman's gill net.
We are still verifying the other one, it was caught? some 100kilometers from here in Medina town in Gingoog Bay where whale sharks are known to inhabit.
Thanks to Alex Buttigieg for additonal information.

#36
MpImages/50299_506240.jpg
23 March 2006 Off China Sea   4.7 650
(6.3)
  Thanks to Victor Lin for photo and information.
#37
MpImages/mega37.jpg

2 May 2006 Sagami Bay,
Yugawara.(Kanagawa prefecture) Japan
F 5.7     It was caught by a fixed shore net on May 2nd, 2006. in Sagami Bay, Yugawara.(Kanagawa prefecture). It was alive when it was found in the net, and NHK's camera crew shot a film of it. Then it was pulled up but it was already dead. It was measured at 5.7m. Meg 37 was a female and is going to be displayed at the Keikyu Aburatsubo marine park ( in Kanagawa) Japan. Thanks to Alex Buttigieg for information and photo.

#38
MpImages/megamouth37.jpg

16 Nov 2006 Tortugas Bay, West Coast of Baja California, Mexico F 2.149 27 (2.7)   Megamouth # 37 was caught in a commercial shark gill net in the waters near Tortugas Bay, off the west coast of the peninsula of Baja California, México. The specimen was a juvenile female with a total length of 214.9 cm. After the specimen is preserved, it will be on public exhibit in the Regional Fisheries Center of Ensenada prior to possibly moving it to the Natural History Museum in Mexico City. (Text from http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks/megamouth/mega37.html)

#39
MpImages/2007_July_4m_450kg.jpg
July 2007 off Japan   ~4 450 (7.0)   I just found news about a megamouth shark caught off Japan. Attached is photo of a 4m, 450kg megamouth caught off Japan in July, 2007.   Victor Lin, personal communication.
#40 around 30 June 2008 off Taiwan ? ? ~200  

The only information I was able to collect for this megamouth is its weight and capture date (200 kg+; around June 30). No length, sex, photo, nor other data. The fisherman (dealer) who reported it to me was the same one who bought the #33 megamouth, so I believe it to be authentic. Victor Lin personal communication.

#41
MpImages/LA14_004.jpg

10 July 2008 off East Taiwan ? 5.0-5.5? 870
(7.0-5.2)
  There was another megamouth caught off East Taiwan on July 10. This one was big, claimed to be 9 m in the news ( more likely 5.0~5.5m judging from the picture) and it was actually weighed at 870kg. Victor Lin personal communication.
#42
MpImages/MP42.jpg

30 March 2009 Eastern Coast of Burioas Island in Donsol, Sorsogon province, central Philippines ? 4.0 500 (7.8)  

Rare shark caught in Donsol--WWF
MANILA, Philippines— (UPDATE) A rare shark was caught along the eastern coast of Burias Isle in Donsol by fishermen trawling for mackerel on March 30, officials from the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature said. Thanks to Alex Buttigieg for URL.

Another account. Thanks to Bob Lea for URL.

Photo Date Location Sex TL (m) M (kg)
(CF)
PCL (m) Comments and Reference
In Mass column, CF = condition factor = M/TL^3

Created April 2002; updated April 2009. Back to previous page
Please send comments or corrections to mollet@pacbell.net