Common name: Megamouth Shark



The Megamouth Shark, Megachasma pelagios, the sole member of this family, was only discovered off Hawaii in 1976. As of 2012, only 54 specimens have either been caught or sighted.

This large pelagic shark is a filter-feeder and grows to a length of more than 5 metres.

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Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Megamouth Shark, MEGACHASMIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024,

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Family Taxonomy

Family Distribution

Known from scattered localities in the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Indian oceans.

Family Description

Family Size

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Family Biology


Dianne J. Bray

Family Resources


Berra, T. & Hutchins, J.B. 1990. A specimen of megamouth shark, Megachasma pelagios (Megachasmidae) from Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 14(4): 651-656 fig. 1

Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 4(1) pp. 1-249 [227] (FAO) (Megamouth Shark)

Compagno, L.J.V. 2001. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Rome : FAO, FAO Species Catalogue for Fisheries Purposes No. 1 Vol. 2 269 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. 1992. Megamouth: gentle giant of the deep. Australian Natural History 23(12): 910-917

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp. [164]

Yano, K., Morrisey, J.F., Yabumoto, Y. & Nakaya, N. (eds) 1997. Biology of the Megamouth Shark. Tokyo : Tokai University Press 203 pp.

Taylor, L.R. Jr, Compagno, L.J.V. & Struhsaker, P.J. 1983. Megamouth — a new species, genus, and family of lamnoid shark (Megachasma pelagios, family Megachasmidae) from the Hawaiian Islands. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 4 43(8): 87-110.