Summary of Megamouth Sharks, Megachasma pelagios
Taylor, Compagno & Struhsaker, 1983

Thanks to Dave Ebert, Leonard Campagno, John Morrissey, Tom Haight, Alex Buttigieg (large number of missing photos), Ton Egbers, Victor Lin, Miguel A. Romero, Otto Gadig, Shih-Chu Yang and John Y. Wang for information or photos. See also with links to accounts of the captures of some of the specimenes. Featured Elasmobranch (species) March 2005 at Pacific Shark Research Center, MLML.

Photo/ID Date Location Sex TL (m) M (kg)
PCL (m) Comments and Reference
In Mass column, CF = condition factor = M/TL^3
# 1 holotype
15 Nov 1976

Oahu, Hawaii
(21o 51' N, 157o 46'W)

M 4.460   3.091
69.3% TL
Adult male. Taylor, Compagno & Struskaker (1983).
# 2
29 Nov 1984 California M 4.490     Lavenberg and Seigel (1985).
# 3
18 Aug 1988 Western Australia M 5.150   3.430
66.6% TL
Mature male. Berra and Huchins (1990).
# 4
23 Jan 1989 Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan M ~4     Nakaya (1989).
# 5 June 1989 Yaizu, Shizuoka, Japan F* ~4.9     Miya et al. (1992). *Most likely a female (John Morrissey)
# 6
21 Oct 1990 California M 4.9     Fitted with two ultrasonic transmitters and tracked for two days. Lavenberg (1991). Additinal photos by Tom Haight: #1; #6; #20.
# 7
29 Nov 1994 Hakata Bay, Fukuoka, Japan
(34o 40' N, 130o 50'E)
F 4.710   3.136
66.6% TL
First ever female (but see #5), immature. Castro et al. in Yano, Morrissey, Yabumoto, and Nakaya, eds. (1997).
# 8 4 May 1995 Senegal M ~1.8     Immature male. Séret (1995).
18 Sep 1995 Brazil M 1.9     Immature male. Amorim et al. (1995, AES abstract); F.Amorim, A.F., C.A. Arfelli, & J.I. Castro (2000).
# 10
30 Apr 1997 Mikizaki, Owase City, Japan F 5.44    

150 m deep, Yano et al. (1999).

# 11
20 Feb. 1998 Cagayan de Oro, Philippines M 5.49     M. Amorim, A.F., C.A. Arfelli, & J.I. Castro (2000).
# 12 23 Apr 1998 Osawe, Honshu, Japan F 5.20     Amorim, A.F., C.A. Arfelli, & J.I. Castro (2000).
# 13
30 Aug. 1998 Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia F ~5.0     Observed being attacked by sperm whales (Pecchioni P. $ Benoldi C. 1999; Amorim, A.F., C.A. Arfelli, & J.I. Castro 2000).
# 14
1 Oct. 1999 San Diego, California F 5.18     On October 1, 1999, a megamouth shark (female, aprox. 17 ft) was caught in a drift gillnet and released alive in good condition. A National Marine Fisheries Service observer was aboard the commercial swordfish vessel, 30 miles west of San Diego, California. The observer was able to take four color photographs including one of the upper jaw (white lip) / lower jaw (dark spots on white chin) and others of the underside of body (no visible claspers). Water depth at this location is 190 fms. and water temperature was 67.2 F. This is the third (November 1984, October 1990) megamouth caught off Southern California in a drift gillnet targeting swordfish.

# 15
19 Oct. 2001 California M ~5.5 FL     On October 19, 2001, another Megamouth shark (male, approx. 18 ft. fork length) was caught in a drift gillnet and released alive in good condition. A U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service observer was aboard the commercial swordfish vessel, approx. 42 miles northwest of San Diego, California. The observer was able to collect a tissue biopsy and take many color photographs including one of the upper jaw with white lip and lower jaw with dark spots on a white chin. The observer also noted the presence of claspers. Water depth at this location is 460 fms. and the sea surface temperature was 65.8 F. This is the fourth (November 1984, October 1990, October 1999) Megamouth shark caught off Southern California in a drift gillnet targeting swordfish. If you are interested in seeing the photos, please go to the following web site: Don Petersen
# 16
18 Jan 2002 East Indian Ocean
(2o 17.9' S, 88o 12.7'E)
M 2.35


  Tuna purse seine, discarded (John Morrissey). One more composite jgp. All photos copyright Sopana Boonyapiwat. For more information see
# 17
20 Apr 2002

Natures Valley, Western Cape Province, South Africa
(33o 59' S, 23o 34'E)



    On 20 April 2002, a large shark was stranded at Natures Valley (33o 59' S, 23o 34'E) in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Initial reports suggested that it was a whale shark, but subsequent reports and digital photographs confirmed that it was a megamouth, Megachasma pelagios. Dr Vic Cockcroft of the Centre for Dolphin Studies collected it from the beach to ensure that it was not washed out to sea again. It is the first record of this species in South Africa and the Western Indian Ocean and is the 17th discovered world-wide since its discovery off Hawaii was announced in 1976. It was iced early the next morning and collected by Dr Malcolm Smale and Matt Dicken and brought back to the Port Elizabeth Museum. It was placed in a scientific freezer and frozen to -20o C. A preliminary examination showed that the animal, approximately 4m long and female was in reasonable condition, but the skin was scuffed and there was some damage to the fins. It will be examined, measured and dissected by Drs Malcolm Smale (Port Elizabeth Museum) & Leonard Compagno (South African Museum) in early May. Various samples, including tissues for DNA analyses will be saved for future research. Taxidermists will make a mould of the animal for educational displays in museums. Elasmo-L posting by M. Smale on 23 April 2002.
# 18
06 Jan 2003 Philippines   ~4.97     #18 was caught in Philippines .
More info at and
# 19
26 May 2003 California   6.1-7.6 ~5000  

#19 reportedly sighted in California. More info at http://www.SHARKMANS-WORLD.ORG and

# 20
03 Jul 2003 Hualien Province
M ~2.5 ~490?
  The shark was caught on July 4, 2003 in Hualien Province, Taiwan, 800 meters off the coast. It was about 2.5 meters long and allegedly weighed 490kg. Victor Lin identfied claspers in the original photo so it`s a male.
Victor Lin translated a newspaper clipping about this mystery fish dated 4 July 2003.
Po-Feng Lee received pictures from Mr. Lee about this megamouth shark landing in east Taiwan. Thanks.
# 21
07 Aug 2003 Omaezaki, Sizuoka Japan M 4.30     Omaezaki, Sizuoka Japan; 7-August-2003; 430 cm; Tokai University (taxidermy).
# 22

08 Mar 2004

Off Peru /Equador
Lat 02 deg 54.374'
Long 81 deg 14.858'



    Information from Miguel A. Romero sent to Otto Gadig on 26 March 2004: Captured in northern Peru near the border with Ecuador. May be the first record in the eastern South Pacific. Miguel is writing a note for the SSG website. (Add URL once it's up.)
# 23

13 Mar 2004 Gapang Beach, northern tip of Sumatra, Indonsia M 1.767 13.82
(64.7 %TL)
I think there can be no doubt anymore that the shark specimen that washed ashore here today on Gapang Beach, less than 30 meters away from our doorstep, literally, is the rare shark species Megachasma pelagios. Thanks for the attention so far, Ton Egbers.
Additional morphometrics: Caudal length 62 cm, Pectorals 33 cm Additional photos: #243;. #244; #249; lumbalumba diving center for more info and pics.
White, Fahmi, and Kurnaen (2004). A juvenile megamouth shark Megachasma pelagios (Lamniformes: Megachasmidae) from Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The Raffels Bulletin of Zoology 52(2): 603-607. (5MB PDF)

# 24
19 Apr 2004 Tokyo Bay near Ichihara City F 5.63 1215
  A rare megamouth deep-sea shark is displayed after being discovered in Tokyo Bay near Ichihara City, in this handout photo released by the Natural History Museum and Institute, April 22, 2004. The shark measures 5.63 meters (18.47 feet) in length, 2,679 lbs in weight, and its mouth is 1.15 meters (3.77 feet) in diameter, which the museum says is the world's largest of its kind yet reported. Thanks to Alex Buttigieg for posting information
# 25
23 Apr 2004 Off Ajiro, Shizuoka Japan F ~4.9
>1000?   Megamouth Shark #25 Caught Off Ajiro, Shizuoka Japan
April 23, 2004 Sources of Information: Masami Furuta Toba Aquarium
Newspaper article in Japanese mentions TL = 5.5 and 5.6 m and weight of "1", implying over 1 ton (V. Lin).
# 26
4 Nov 2004
5 pm
Barangay Namocon, Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines F 5.04 ~1000
  From David Greenfield <>
#24 is now at SEAFDEC FishWorld, SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department,Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines. Stranded alive at Barangay Namocon, Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines at 4 PM and died at 10 PM.
The Manila Bulletin Online has complete story.
Additional photo and other details.
# 27
23 Jan 2005 off Kiseicho Nishiki, Mie, Japan F 5.28    

Megamouth Shark #27 Captured In Purse Seine off Japan
Sources of Information: Masami Furuta Toba Aquarium
A megamouth shark was captured with a purse seine set off the coast of Kiseicho Nishiki, Mie, Japan. The purse seine was set at a depth of 200 meters around 5:00am on January 23, 2005. We received a phone call informing us of the possible catch of a megamouth shark. We went to the fishing port but by the time we arrived, the megamouth was already dead. This megamouth was a female with a body length of 528 centimeters. The megamouth was hoisted onto a truck with the assistance of a lift and was transported to the Toba Aquarium where it was placed in a freezer. In the near future, we will taxidermy this animal for display at the aquarium.

# 28
30 Jan 2005 Cagayan de Oro City, Island Mindanao, Philippines F? 4.17 ~1000

Megamouth found dead in Cagayan de Oro
BenCyrus G. Ellorin / MindaNews / 30 January 2005. Thanks to Alex Buttigieg for update.
For details and photos click here.

# 29 ~ 25 Apr 2005 Hualien, Eastern Taiwan     580   First of four was caught about a week befor the second one on May 2, 2005.
# 30 02 May 2005 Hualien, Eastern Taiwan     580   Second one was caught on May 2. All four were purchased by the same fish processor who said they were all the same species (pretty distinctive). The first two were both 580 kg each. They were sold for consumption.
# 31
04 May 2005 Hualien, Eastern Taiwan F 4.87
3.39 69.6% TL

Third one of four:
This female megamouth shark was caught in Hualien, central eastern Taiwan. The carcass is now in the hands of Dr. Kwung-Tsao Shao at the Academia Sinica. The specimen was in excellent shape and on ice - never frozen. It wasn't out in the sun for more than minutes. It was caught about 2 am and was still alive. Died about an hour later. It was landed at port at about 9:30 am on May 4 (Taiwan time).
Thanks for information and photos to Shih-Chu Yang and John Y. Wang and Victor Lin.

# 32

05 May 2005 Hualien, Eastern Taiwan F 4.83
3.39 69.6% TL

Fourth one of four:
Was sold directly to Kwung-Tsao Shao (Academia Sinica) and was shipped to the Taipei Zoo for dissection (as was the thrid specimen).

According to recent publication by Lee and Shao (2010) in J. Fish. Soc. Taiwan 36 (4), 303-311 this fish was a little shorter than the one caught the day before (#31 above) but had more girth and weighed considerably more.

# 33
05 June 2005 Hualien, Eastern Taiwan M ~3.5-4.0 400-500  

The fishermen in Hualien got another megamouth...I guess it's #33? Because it was Sunday and the fishery office isn't open, length and weight were not taken at the dock buy according to the dealer the weight was 400~500kg and closer to 500kg. . I have asked the fisherman to save some vertebra and muscle tissue for me. There was an earthquake the day before, and this megamouth shows up. Just like last time. according to the dealer is 400~500kg and closer to 500kaccording to the dealer is 400~500kg.

This shark was in bad shape when Victor Lin rushed to the dock two days after capture. The tail was broken when hung onto the boat. The first half was about 1.75 m and tail end about 178cm . The whole right upper jaw was gone. It probably "slipped" into the sea when they hooked the shark and broke the jaw.

# 34

26 Jan 2006 Off Bayawan coast, ~100 km south of Dmaguete City, Central Visayas, Philippines island of Negros F ~5 ~1000  

Hundreds of residents of Bayawan City in southern Oriental Negros woke up yesterday to the sight of the biggest fish they ever saw following the accidental capture by fishermen of a rare five-meter megamouth shark. The shark, which was estimated to weigh one ton, was found by fishermen struggling to free itself from a net just off the Bayawan coast, some 100 kilometers south of Dumaguete City. Thanks to Alex Buttigieg for information and BenCyrus G. Ellorin for correction on location.

# 35
12 Mar 2006 Macajalar Bay in Northern Mindanao, Philippines F 2.26 60-80

BenCyrus G. Ellorin:
I have checked with our counterpart in the Bureau of Fisheriesand Aquatic Resources and was informed that Megamouth 35 is confirmed. Was dead when it was braught ashore after being entangled in a fisherman's gill net. We are still verifying the other one, it was caught? some 100 kilometers from here in Medina town in Gingoog Bay where whale sharks are known to inhabit.
Thanks to Alex Buttigieg for additonal information.

# 36
23 March 2006 Off China Sea   4.7 650
  Thanks to Victor Lin for photo and information.
# 37

2 May 2006 Sagami Bay,
Yugawara.(Kanagawa prefecture) Japan
F 5.7     It was caught by a fixed shore net on May 2nd, 2006. in Sagami Bay, Yugawara.(Kanagawa prefecture). It was alive when it was found in the net, and NHK's camera crew shot a film of it. Then it was pulled up but it was already dead. It was measured at 5.7m. Meg 37 was a female and is going to be displayed at the Keikyu Aburatsubo marine park ( in Kanagawa) Japan. Thanks to Alex Buttigieg for information and photo.

# 38

16 Nov 2006 Tortugas Bay, West Coast of Baja California, Mexico F 2.149 27 (2.7)  

Megamouth # 38 was caught in a commercial shark gill net in the waters near Tortugas Bay, off the west coast of the peninsula of Baja California, México. The specimen was a juvenile female with a total length of 214.9 cm. After the specimen is preserved, it will be on public exhibit in the Regional Fisheries Center of Ensenada prior to possibly moving it to the Natural History Museum in Mexico City. (Text from )

# 39 30 May 2007

Barangay Tungkob, Minglanilla town, Cebu, Philippines

? 2.49 (8.2 ft)     Megamouth Shark # 39: Hurt Megamouth Shark found near Cebu shore. May 30, 2007. Source of Information:Bernadette A. Parco Cebu Daily News
June 2007 Sagami Bay, Japan F 5.4     In June 2007, a 5.40 m female was found alive in a net. It was filmed, tagged
and released. This was in Sagami Bay, Japan. Video and photos.Alex Buttigieg personal communication as per contact with Taku Horie, researcher at Tokai University.
# 41
July 2007 off Japan F 3.7 361 (7.1)   I just found news about a megamouth shark caught off Japan. Attached is photo of a 4 m, 450 kg megamouth caught off Japan in July, 2007.   Victor Lin, personal communication.
This 3.7m, 361 kg female shark was kept frozen until it was put on display in
March 2011 at the Churaumi aquarium in Okinawa. This led to confusion that it might be a new specimen. Video and info. Alex Buttigieg, personal information as per contact with Taku Horie, researcher at Tokai University. Recent publication on functtional morphology of pectoral fin using this and one other specimen.
# 42
27 Sep 2007 Hinunangan, So Lyete, Philippines   2.74     Found Dead, Stranded On Beach In Hinunangan, Philippines. For details see
Photo provided by Alex Buttigieg.
# 43
around 30 June 2008 off Taiwan ? ? ~200  

The only information I was able to collect for this megamouth is its weight and capture date (200 kg+; around June 30). No length, sex, photo, nor other data. The fisherman (dealer) who reported it to me was the same one who bought the #33 megamouth, so I believe it to be authentic. The jaw is 30" wide (76.2 cm) and 16" tall (40.6 cm) and it was difficult to keep the shape of this soft jaw.Victor Lin personal communication.

# 44

10 July 2008 off East Taiwan F? 5.0-5.5? 870
  There was another megamouth caught off East Taiwan on July 10. This one was big, claimed to be 9 m in the news ( more likely 5.0~5.5m judging from the picture) and it was actually weighed at 870kg. It looked like a female in the picture. Victor Lin personal communication.
# 45 5 Sep 2008 Hinunangan, So. Lyete, Philippines ? 2.13     This megamouth was reported stranded and alive on the shoreline and was pushed offshore, back into the water. See
# 46

30 March 2009 Eastern Coast of Burioas Island in Donsol, Sorsogon province, central Philippines M 4.0 500 (7.8)  

Rare shark caught in Donsol--WWF
MANILA, Philippines— (UPDATE) A rare shark was caught along the eastern coast of Burias Isle in Donsol by fishermen trawling for mackerel on March 30, officials from the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature said. Thanks to Alex Buttigieg for URL.

Another account. Thanks to Bob Lea for URL.

# 47

9 June 2009 Off East Taiwan F 3.9 350 (5.9)  

A megamouth shark was caught off eastern county of Taitung, Taiwan on June 9, 2009. It was 3.90 m long, weighed 350 kg and appeared to be a female. A local shark museum bought it and will mount it for display.
Thanks to Victor Lin for information and photos.

 # 48
 9 July 2009 Praia Grande,  Cabo Frio, in Rio de Janeiro   M   5.39     According to LIMA, M.L., RENNÓ, B., & SICILIANO , S. 2009.  Gigante dos mares em areias fluminenses. Ciencia Hoje, Vol. 44, Setembro, 56-57 this specimen was found stranded and dead on July 9, 2009 in Praia Grande,  Cabo Frio, in Rio de Janeiro. The specimen was a male  measuring 5.39 meters. Part of the specimen was consumed by the locals. Thanks to Prof. Dr. Ulisses Leite Gomes Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Instituto de Biologia Departamento de Zoologia Laboratório de Taxonomia de Elasmobrânquios Rio de Janeiro, RJ - BRASIL
 # 49
6 Nov 2009 18 m SW of the Benitos Islands (Mexico) M  

1.99; TOT (stretched) 2.05

  1.26; FL = 1.53 November 6, 2009 Sources of Information:
Escibedi Fernando Camacho (El Mexicano). Measurements from Dan Cartamil.
Same as #52 on list (based on information from Falcon 2011)
 # 50
25 Apr 2010 Off SE China (Taiwan Straight)   M   ~4  ~1000   Details from Victor Lin: On April 25 2010, a friend who lives near the beach informed me that there was a megamouth shark caught and it was brought to a fishery product factory. I asked him to go there and take some pictures. When he arrived, the shark was already skinned. The shark had been cut into chunks and distributed to retail sellers. Only the skin and the broken jaw were left at the factory. After a phone-negotiation, the owner of the factory agreed to save the skin and jaw for me. Sex: Male (see pic I) Length: Unknown, probably can be estimated after the skin is sent to me and de-frozen. For now, based on picture III, I would say it's at least 4 meters long. Weight: Unknown. The factory owner told me he estimated the weight to be over 1000 kg (the shark was not weighed). The skin alone, weighed between 100~200 kg. The finished shark mount will be donated to a public museum or educational institute.
 # 51
19 Jun 2010 Eastern Taiwan      ~766   From Victor Lin: A fish dealer in North East Taiwan called me on Friday (June 19, 2010) saying he had purchased a megamouth shark. I asked him whether the whole shark could be kept or if he could at least take some pictures. He said he could not. Anyway, the jaw was saved and I took pictures when I went there on Saturday. I also saw some likely parts of the body when I peeped into the dealer's stock but could no gleam any extra information from them.
New addition, see Alex B. webpage for updated numbers 24 Jun 2011 Off Shizuoka prefecture, Japan 5.4 Recent publication on functtional morphology of pectoral fin using this and one other specimen.
 # 52
01 Jul 2011 Kanagawa pref. Japan  ? ~3     Information and photos freom Alex Buttigieg.
 # 53
Jan 2012 Sea of China  ? 5.65-5.70 1150-1250   Information and photos freom Victor Lin. Second Photo.
 # 54
16 Oct 2012 Off Eastern Taiwan  F ~6; using 0.666 for PCL/TL from Yano et al (1997) would give 6.4 m 900-1000 4.29 A female Megamouth shark was caught off eastern Taiwan on Oct 16th, 2012. It measured 429 cm without its tail which was broken when the shark was hauled back to the harbor. The fish dealer who purchased the shark estimated the shark would have been 6 m TL. The shark was estimated to weigh 800~900kg. The orgens were preserved and donated to a university and the meat was sold. Information and photos freom Victor Lin. Second Photo.
 For # 55 - # 60, go to . Alex said on 9 May, 2014 that : "In the past 3 weeks I got quite a few new details and the numbers between 50 to 60 have been changing like "musical chairs". The Filming for the Discovery channel's "Alien Sharks" also turned a few things around. I am no longer keeping track of new additions.
Photo Date Location Sex TL (m) M (kg)
PCL (m) Comments and Reference
In Mass column, CF = condition factor = M/TL^3

Created April 2002; updated May 2014. Back to previous page
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