American Oceans

Porbeagle Shark

The Porbeagle Shark, also known as the Mackerel Shark, is a species of mackerel shark that inhabits the cold and temperate waters of the North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere.

Porbeagle Shark under the cold water

It is a powerful predator that can grow up to 12 feet long and weigh as much as 600 pounds. Its conical snout, white underbelly, and dark gray top make it easily recognizable.

The name “Porbeagle” is believed to have originated from the combination of “porpoise” and “beagle,” referencing the shark’s rounded body and dogged hunting methods. Porbeagles are known for their muscular bodies, which give them the ability to swim at high speeds.

They are active predators that feed on a variety of prey, including fish, squid, and other sharks.

Despite their reputation as fierce predators, Porbeagles are not considered a significant threat to humans.


The Porbeagle Shark (Lamna nasus) is a cold-water shark that is found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans.

It is a member of the family Lamnidae, which also includes the Great White Shark and the Shortfin Mako Shark.

The Porbeagle Shark is known for its robust body and streamlined shape, which make it an excellent swimmer and predator.

Physical Characteristics

The Porbeagle Shark has a distinctive conical snout that tapers to a sharp point. Its body is stout and fusiform, which gives it a streamlined shape that allows it to swim quickly through the water.

The Porbeagle Shark has a dark grey or brownish-grey coloring on its back and sides, while its underbelly is white. Its dorsal fin is large and triangular, while its tail fin is asymmetrical and has a strong keel.

The Porbeagle Shark has large, black eyes without nictitating membranes, which are protective third eyelids. Its teeth are sharp and serrated, and it has five to seven gill slits on each side of its body.

The Porbeagle Shark can grow up to 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) in length and weigh up to 270 kg (600 lbs). It is a powerful predator that feeds on a variety of prey, including fish, squid, and crustaceans.

Habitat and Distribution

Porbeagle sharks (Lamna nasus) are widely distributed in cold and temperate marine waters of the North Atlantic and Southern Hemisphere.

They are found in the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the southern Indian Ocean. Porbeagles are coastal species, but they can be found up to 2,300 feet (700 m) underwater.

North Atlantic

In the North Atlantic, porbeagles are found from Greenland and Iceland to the Gulf of Mexico.

They are most commonly found in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean, where the water is colder.

Porbeagles are also found in the waters of the European Union, where they are considered a vulnerable species.

Temperate Waters

Porbeagles are also found in temperate waters, including cool water areas 33.8 to 64.4ºF [1 to18ºC] in the North Atlantic.

In the Southern Hemisphere, they are found in the waters around South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Porbeagles are highly migratory and have been known to travel long distances in search of food.

Porbeagles are apex predators and play an important role in the ecosystem. They feed on a variety of prey, including squid, fish, and other sharks.

Despite their importance, porbeagle populations have been severely impacted by commercial fishing.

They are slow to reach sexual maturity, with males maturing at 4.9 to 6.7 ft [1.5 to 2 m] in length, and females maturing at 6.7 to 8.2 ft [2 -2.5 m].


Porbeagle sharks are highly active and migratory species that can travel long distances.

They move inshore and to the surface in the summer months, and spend the winter in deeper waters.


Porbeagles have been observed traveling across the Atlantic Ocean, from Canada to Europe, covering distances of over 2,500 miles.

They are known to migrate to warmer waters in the winter months to feed on prey such as squid, herring, and mackerel.

Playful Behavior

Porbeagles are one of the few shark species known to exhibit playful behavior. They have been observed pushing floating objects and kelp around, as well as chasing each other.

This playful behavior is similar to that of dogs, and it is believed that they engage in it to socialize and communicate with other sharks.


Porbeagles are capable of swimming for long periods without rest.

They have been known to swim at depths of up to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) for extended periods of time, and can remain underwater for up to 45 minutes before resurfacing to breathe.

Porbeagle sharks are highly adapted to their underwater environment, and their behavior reflects their ability to thrive in it.

Their migrations, playful behavior, and endurance are all examples of how they have evolved to survive in the open ocean.

Diet and Prey

Porbeagle sharks are opportunistic hunters that prey mainly on bony fishes and cephalopods throughout the water column, including the bottom.

They are known to consume a wide range of prey, including mackerel, herring, squid, hake, cod, and other bony fish.

Juvenile porbeagle sharks mainly prey on squid, but as they mature, they shift to a primarily fish-based diet.

According to OneKindPlanet, porbeagle sharks’ first choice of prey are bony fish, including mackerel and herring.

They also occasionally enjoy cephalopods such as squid. The porbeagle is an opportunistic feeder that will consume almost anything, including shellfish and other sharks.

Porbeagle sharks are also known to steal fish from longlining boats. Longlining is a fishing technique that involves setting out a long line with baited hooks to catch fish.

Porbeagle sharks are attracted to the bait and can get caught on the hooks. However, they are also known to steal fish from the line before they get caught.


Here is a list of some of the main prey items of porbeagle sharks:

  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Squid
  • Hake
  • Cod
  • Other bony fish
  • Cephalopods

Porbeagle sharks are known to consume a wide range of prey items, but these are some of the most common.

Juvenile porbeagle sharks mainly prey on squid, while adult porbeagle sharks shift to a primarily fish-based diet.

They are opportunistic feeders that will consume almost anything, including shellfish and other sharks.


Porbeagle sharks are ovoviviparous, meaning they give birth to live young instead of laying eggs.

The timing of their reproductive cycle is unusual because it is largely similar in both hemispheres, rather than being offset by six months.

This suggests that their reproduction is not significantly affected by temperature or day length, perhaps owing to their endothermic physiology.


Porbeagle sharks have a long gestation period, lasting for about 8-9 months.

During this time, the embryos develop inside the mother’s body, receiving nutrients from a yolk sac.

The mother provides no additional nourishment to the embryos during gestation.


Porbeagle sharks generally bear litters of only 4 pups. These pups are relatively large at 60-80cm long.

Female sharks have been known to use the sperm from multiple males when they reproduce, meaning that pups in one litter could be half-siblings.


Porbeagle sharks reproduce slowly, so they are extremely vulnerable to destructive fishing. Females take 12-16 years to reach sexual maturity, while males take 6-10 years.

After reaching maturity, females will give birth to litters of just 1-5 pups, and they will continue to reproduce every 2-3 years.

Conservation Status

The porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) is a species of shark that is vulnerable worldwide, and either endangered or critically endangered in different parts of its northern range.

The conservation status of the porbeagle has been a concern for decades, with various organizations working towards its protection.

IUCN Red List

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed the porbeagle as vulnerable worldwide.

The porbeagle continues to be caught throughout its range, both intentionally and as bycatch, with varying degrees of monitoring and management.

The IUCN has identified overfishing as the main threat to the porbeagle population, as it is a slow-growing and late-maturing species that produces few offspring.

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