The popular but rare Megamouth shark was found to be existing in 1976. The new shark species was scientifically termed as ‘Megachasma Pelagios.’ Since 1976, only a few Megamouths have ever been spotted. However, 54 of these species have been blemished so far. Till 2008, 40 specimens are known to be caught from the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
After a deep study of these species, it was found that these sharks are like the basking and whale shark. It is a filter feeder and swims with its gigantic mouth wide open, filtering the water for its diet which mainly includes plankton, shrimps and jellyfish. Though it is a filter feeder like the basking and whale shark, yet it is less active and also a poor swimmer in comparison to other filter feeders. This inactivity is because of its flabby body, soft fins, asymmetrical tail and lack of keels.
The Megamouth resembles a whale more than a shark. The largest specimen known reached 5.6 or 18-feet in length. Furthermore, these mammoth creatures have a brownish-blackish color on the top and white color on the belly, with a distinctive head and rubbery lips.
In California, 2009, a Megamouth shark was captured and proved invaluable in understanding more about the species. It was tagged and released, and tracked for two days. Its pattern of behavior showed that it stays at a depth of 50-feet during the night then dives to 500-feet at dawn.
There is quite a possibility that these species may be present in a much larger number in the ocean depths.