Shortfin Mako, Isurus oxyrinchus Rafinesque 1810

Other Names: Blue Pointer, Mackerel Shark, Mako, Mako Shark, Snapper Shark

A Shortfin Mako, Isurus Oxyrinchus, off the Azores, North Atlantic, September 2011. Source: Patrick Doll / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC by Attribution-ShareAlike


A very active and powerful pelagic shark with a sharply pointed snout, long slender teeth that protrude from the mouth, very small second dorsal and anal fins and a lunate caudal fin with a single keel on the caudal peduncle. Shortfin Makos are indigo blue above, a lighter blue on the sides and white below.

The Shortfin Mako is considered dangerous and is responsible for unprovoked attacks on humans. The species is known for its extreme speed and is possibly the fastest known shark.  

Like other lamnid sharks, it is 'warm-blooded'. It has a heat exchange circulatory system that enables the shark to maintain body temperatures above those of the surrounding water.

Video of a Shortfin Mako by Joe Romeiro

Video - the fastest shark in the ocean

Video of a Shortfin Mako by BBC Wildlife

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Isurus oxyrinchus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 May 2024,

Shortfin Mako, Isurus oxyrinchus Rafinesque 1810

More Info


Recorded in Australia from all states except the Northern Territory - usually in offshore waters. Elsewhere, worldwide in tropical and warm-temperate oceanic waters in depths to at least 500 m, mostly in water temperatures above 16°C.


Known to feed on a wide range of fishes, marine mammals, reptiles and seabirds. Reported prey items include mackerels, tunas, bonitos, swordfish, other sharks, dolphins, marine turtles and seabirds. Shortfin Mako also consume detritus including human trash.


Like other sharks in the family Lamnidae. the Shortfin Mako is endothermic or warm-blooded, and has a special heat-exchanging circulatory system that enables it to maintain body temperatures above that of the surrounding seawater.

There is a large difference in size at maturity between the sexes. Males mature at 7-9 years, whereas females do not mature until they are 19-21 years of age. The species is aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous) and oophagous (developing embryos feed on unfertilised eggs with in the uterus). The gestation period is 15-18 months, and there is a three year reproductive cycle.


Shortfin Makos are targeted in commercial fisheries and taken as bycatch in tuna, shark and billfish longline and driftnet fisheries, particularly on the high-seas. The meat and fins are of high value. The species is also targeted by recreational fishers as a highly-prized gamefish.


Although the Shortfin Mako usually inhabits oceanic waters, it has been implicated in both fatal and nonfatal attacks on humans. The species has also been known to attack boats, and has injured fishers after being hooked.


Dianne J. Bray

Shortfin Mako, Isurus oxyrinchus Rafinesque 1810


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37010001


Conservation:IUCN Vulnerable; Highly Migratory

Danger:Potentially dangerous

Depth:1-650 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational

Habitat:Pelagic, oceanic

Max Size:400 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map