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IN THE KNOW: Megamouth sharks

/ 12:11 AM March 12, 2015

Considered one of the world’s most elusive shark species, the megamouth shark was discovered only on Nov. 15, 1975 in Hawaii.

It is named after its big mouth that measures almost a meter wide and lined with a brilliant silver band to attract plankton, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines. It has a blubbery body and a bulbous head, and found throughout the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans.

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The male shark has an average measurement of 4 meters, while the female grows to 5 meters.

Megamouth sharks are filter feeders, much like the whale sharks—both colossal creatures of the sea that feed only on small animals like krill or alamang. They go to depths of 400-500 meters in daylight and move up to shallower parts at night, most probably to feed.

They are slow swimmers, moving at 1.5 to 2.1 kilometers per hour.

The megamouth shark found dead on the shore of Barangay Marigondon in Pio Duran, Albay province, in January had an estimated weight of 1,000 kilograms. In 2009, a megamouth shark caught and butchered by fishermen near Donsol in Sorsogon province measured 4 meters and weighed 500 kg.

The latest find was the 15th in the Philippines and the 66th in the world. Inquirer Research and Ma. April Mier

Sources: Inquirer Archives, Albay Park and Wildlife

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