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Mackerel Sharks, Makos, Porbeagles, White Sharks

Compiler and date details

30 April 2011 - Douglass F. Hoese & Jennifer E. Gates


As treated here, the family Lamnidae (= Isuridae) includes mackerel sharks, the white pointer or great white shark, makos and porbeagles. Currently, three genera and five species are recognised worldwide (one in Carcharodon, two in Lamna and two in Isurus). Four species are known from Australia.

Lamnids are found worldwide in tropical and temperate areas in coastal and oceanic waters. These sharks are carnivorous and are regarded as potentially dangerous to man. They are ovoviviparous. Lamna and Isurus are known to reach a size of about 3 m. Carcharodon is documented to 6.0 m (Randall 1987). All species probably grow larger. A record of a 16 m great white shark from South Australia was a mistake for a shark of about 5.4 m (Randall 1973, 1987).

Garrick (1967) reviewed the species of Isurus. Bass et al. (1975) added additional information on taxonomy and biology of South African species and Bigelow & Schroeder (1948) treated Atlantic species. Compagno (1984, 1998, 2001) and Compagno et al. (2005) reviewed current knowledge of all species and Last & Stevens (1994, 2009) treated the Australian species. Extensive literature exists on the biology of the great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias (see Ellis & McCosker 1991; Klimley & Ainley 1996).


General References

Bass, A.J., D'Aubrey, J.D. & Kistnasamy, N. 1975. Sharks of the east coast of southern Africa. Part 4. The families Odontaspididae, Scapanorhynchidae, Isuridae, Cetorhinidae, Alopiidae, Orectolobidae and Rhiniodontidae. Investigational Report. Oceanographical Research Institute, Durban 39: 1-102 figs 1-24 pls 1-15

Bigelow, H.B. & Schroeder, W.C. 1948. Sharks. In, Parr, A.E. (ed.) Fishes of the western North Atlantic. Memoir. Sears Foundation of Marine Research 1(1): 59-546 figs 6-106

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.

Compagno, L.J.V. 1998. Families Pseudocarchariidae, Alopiidae, Lamnidae. pp. 1268-1278 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 2 687-1396 pp.

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.

Compagno, L.J.V., Dando, M. & Fowler, S. 2005. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World. London : Collins 368 pp.

Ellis, R. & McCosker, J.E. 1991. Great White Shark. New York : Harper-Collins Publ. 270 pp.

Garrick, J.A.F. 1967. Revision of sharks of genus Isurus with description of a new species (Galeoidea, Lamnidae). Proceedings of the United States National Museum 118(3537): 663-690 figs 1-9 pls 1-4

Klimley, A.P. & Ainley, D.G. (eds) 1996. Great White Sharks. The Biology of Carcharodon carcharias. San Diego : Academic Press 517 pp.

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. [174]

Randall, J.E. 1973. Size of the great white shark (Carcharodon). Science (Washington, D.C.) 181(4095): 169-170

Randall, J.E. 1987. Refutation of lengths of 11.3, 9.0 and 6.4 m attributed to the white shark, Carcharodon carcharias. California Fisheries and Game 73(3): 163-168


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
16-Apr-2012 16-Apr-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)