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MegamouthCredit: Rosalina Sariola
 / Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines

Rare Megamouth Shark Washed Ashore

Rare shark specimen baffled locals after it was found off the coast of Pio Duran, Albay, Philippines

A dead megamouth shark was found in the Philippines last Wednesday after it got caught in a fisherman’s net. The 15-foot-long male specimen, which was given the name Toothless, was hauled to shore on a stretcher.

Little is known about the megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) and less than 70 sightings have been recorded since the first one was discovered in 1976 off the coast of Hawaii.

Toothless was discovered in Pio Duran, a coastal town in the province of Albay. The Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines noted that this was the first megamouth specimen found in Albay and the second one for the Bicol Region, after another megamouth was discovered in Donsol in 2009.

The organisation also announced that the shark has now been stored in ice ‘for further examination and final preservation’ under the care and supervision of the local branch of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

The nickname given to the dead shark, taken from the How To Train Your Dragon films, is actually a misnomer as megamouths have 50 rows of tiny teeth. It is one of the only three filter feeders of its kind, along with the basking shark and the whale shark, and mainly feeds on krill.

Megamouth sharks have been found all over the world, including Brazil, South Africa and Mexico, although Japan and the Philippines hold the top spots for the most sightings.

 

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