Megachasma pelagios

Taylor, Compagno & Struhsaker, 1983

Megamouth shark
Classification: Elasmobranchii Lamniformes Megachasmidae

Reference of the original description
Taylor, L.R. & Compagno, L.J.V. & Struhsaker, P.J. (1983)
Megamouth a new species, genus and family of lamnoid sharks, Megachasma pelagios (Family Megachasmidae), from the Hawaiian Islands. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, (Series 4), 43(8), 87–110

Image of the original description
Image in copyright.

Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Megachasma aff. pelagios, Megachasma cf. pelagios

Megachasma pelagios
Holotype: BPBM: 22730;

Description :

Citation: Megachasma pelagios Taylor, Compagno & Struhsaker, 1983: In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 06/2024

Please send your images of "Megachasma pelagios" to

Megachasma pelagios Taylor, Compagno & Struhsaker, 1983, © FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Ebert, D.A. 2014. On Board Guide for the Identification of Pelagic Sharks and Rays of the Western Indian Ocean. Reproduced with permission, illustration by Marc Dando , Wildlife Illustrator
Common names
spa Tiburón bocudo, spa Tiburón bocón, fra \(T\) Requin grande guele, fra \(T\) Requin grande gueule, eng Megamouth shark

Short Description
Body stout, tapering posteriorly [1388], tadpole-like with larger head and tapering trunk and tail (Ref. 47786). Snout extremely short but broadly rounded [531] (Ref. 47786). Head huge, blubbery [1388]. Mouth very broad and terminal on head, with corner extending behind the eyes [1388] [531]. Jaws huge, protrusible anteriorly but not greatly distensible laterally [531] (Ref. 47786), lower jaw extending to snout tip [1388]. Teeth very small, numerous, hooked [1388] [531] (Ref. 47787). Gill slits moderately long, not reaching dorsal surface of head [1388] [531], internal gill slits lined with dense rows of papillose gill rakers [531]. Eyes semicircular (Ref. 47786), with no nictitating membrane [1388] [531](Ref. 47786). Two dorsal fins, relatively low and angular; small anal fin; long, narrow pectoral fins; moderate-sized pelvic fin; caudal fin asymmetrical, non-lunate, with a short and strong ventral lobe; upper pre-caudal pit only; caudal peduncle without keels or ridges [1388] [531].

Pacific Ocean: Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Hawaii and California, USA. Atlantic Ocean: Brazil and Senegal. Source:

Human uses
fisheries: of no interest

Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding on other ova produced by the mother (oophagy) after the yolk sac is absorbed [733]. Distinct pairing with embrace [17086]. Oceanic, possibly occurring in depths between 150 and 1,000 m [1388]. Feeds on planktivorous prey such as euphausiid shrimps, copepods and jellyfish [1388]. May also eat small midwater fishes. Possibly less active than the basking and whale sharks [1388]. Its feeding habits and habitat suggest that it may be a rare catch in the future.

Size / Weight / Age
549 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 47763)); 549 cm TL (female)

pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous [17660]; marine; depth range 5 - 600 m [17640], usually 120 - 166 m (Ref. 48844)

Tooth formula (upper/lower): 55-115/75-121

Links: SEM-images of teeth

shark-references Species-ID=3605;

Parasites (arranged by Jürgen Pollerspöck)