- The short term of Porbeagle serves as the most frequently used common name for this fish. It’s actually a species what’s known as mackerel sharks. However, the intriguing Lamnidae also goes by several other names, in various parts of its natural range.
- These include such names as Beaumaris shark, Atlantic mackerel shark, bottle-nosed shark, and blue dog. Professionals, though, such as researchers, tend to employ its formal name when referring to it. That’s the relatively simple term Lamna nasus.
- It received that designation due to the work of the French naturalist, Abbé Pierre Joseph Bonnaterre. He accomplished the first official acknowledgement of the creature as a separate and distinct species. This scientifically noteworthy event occurred in 1788.
- Regardless of the term one chooses to use, though, it remains a fascinating animal. It’s also known for being quite fast, and highly active. Yet it’s well-known as comparatively docile. Only a handful of bites by this species have been reported, none serious.
- Sadly, however, the population of the amazing Porbeagle continues to shrink. Though it now enjoys a measure of protection, this applies in only a few areas. Various nations and Unions now ban hunting it, but this only applies within their area of influence.
- The remarkable fish therefore faces numerous threats. These obviously include commercial fishing, as well as sport fishing. Climate change also now poses a danger to it. For all these reasons, the IUCN now lists the species as Vulnerable on its Red List.
Porbeagle Physical Description
The physique of the remarkable Porbeagle quickly impresses those who encounter it. It’s worth noting, however, that it does so for attributes wholly unrelated to sheer size. That’s because this variety of shark only ranks as slightly above average in that regard.
Although populations vary somewhat in size, depending on their region, in many of these one trait stands out. That’s due to the fact that some populations display the physiological characteristic of sexual dimorphism. In its case, though, this manifests in sheer size.
More specifically, females attain a moderately greater length than their male counterparts. As a result of this size disparity, females reach an average body length of approximately 9.8 ft (3.0 m). Males, meanwhile, only average roughly 8.2 ft (2.5 m) in overall length.
Despite the difference in length, though, average weights measure about the same. Most specimens only weigh around 298 lb (135 kg). Exceptional individuals do occur, however. The heaviest known member of the amazing species weighed in at 510 lb (230 kg).
The overall body shape’s often referred to as stout, with males being somewhat more so than females. The elongated snout tapers to a pointed structure. Its eyes further develop as large, and deep black in color. Its mouth also develops as proportionately large and curved.
In terms of coloring, though, the Porbeagle displays a fairly common pattern. The upper surface dislays a moderate to dark gray color. Its underside, meanwhile, typically shows an off white. Some populations also display irregular, dusky blotches across the belly.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Chondrichthyes
- Order: Lamniformes
- Family: Lamnidae
- Genus: Lamna
- Species: L. nasus
Porbeagle Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
One factor working in the favor of the Porbeagle is its natural distribution. That’s because it has an extremely broad, yet simultaneously specific, range of habitation. It evolved to possess what ichthyologists, scientists who study fish, call an amphitemperate range.
That’s simply a technical term that means three things. Firstly, the animal appears almost globally, within certain paramaters. Secondly, however, those parameters restrict it to the temperate waters of both hemispheres. Finally, its absent from tropical areas.
Within that zone, though, it inhabits a broad range of depths. In this, different populations present varying preferences. Thus, some groupings appear offshore, at depths of as much as 4,460 ft (1,360 m). Others, meanwhile, appear at depths as shallow as 3.3 ft (1m)!
Yet, in all regions this wonder of Nature makes its home in, some individuals display a daily migration pattern, while others do not. Those particular specimens that migrate usually spend the day at greater depths. These then later move toward the surface at night.
The intriguing Porbeagle appears either in small groups or singly. In both instances, it’s also one of the few known fish species to exhibit signs of play. That’s due to the fact that, on occasion, individuals wrap themselves in rolling and unrolling themselves in kelp strands.
Like other sharks, it also evolved as an active predator. It’s opportunistic, as well, feeding on virtually any small or medium-sized bony fish it finds. Small cephalopds, especially squid, additionally form an important part of its diet. Lifespan ranges from 30-40 years.