More than 1,500 people gathered outside the Marine Science Museum in Shizuoka, Japan last week to see a necropsy on a rare megamouth shark. According to WPTV, the fish was caught last month at a depth of about 2,600 feet. It is not known how the shark was captured.

Experts said it marked a rare opportunity for a megamouth shark to be extensively stuided. There have only been 58 previous sightings of the species since it was discovered in 1976, and only three have been filmed.

Megamouth sharks are the smallest of the three species of plankton-eating sharks. Its most noticeable feature is its large, bulbous head and wide mouth. These sharks are believed to behave much like whale sharks and spend their time swimming with their mouths open to trap prey. Despite being smaller than the whale shark, megamouths can grow up to 18 feet long and weigh close to 3,000 pounds. The Japan Daily Press reported that the specimen captured last month measured 13 feet and over 1,500 pounds.

The species was first discovered when a US Navy ship off the coast of Kaneohe, Hawaii pulled in a megamouth shark along with its anchor. Two larger variants of the megamouth are believed to be extinct.

As curious onlookers watched, museum staff dissected the fish and removed its internal organs. You can watch a video of that below.


Image screenshot of video by MissThe1990s on YouTube

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4 thoughts on “Rare Megamouth Shark Caught in Japan

  1. Yeah why did those idiots reel it in? I understand that bringing up a fish from such depths to the surface can kill fish. However, some deep sea dwellers like rock-cod can survive once brought to the surface and return immediately to the deep sea. They should have allowed the shark to return, once they spotted it near the surface. I’m all for sport fishing and am an avid hunting junkie, but to go after a rare or endangered species is just criminal. I can’t stand the Japanese-jerks with their insatiable lust for shark fins and wanton waste of the rest of the animal! Now they want to kill a rare shark, just to perform necropsy??? Seriously, WTF? Like dissecting one of those fish, how is that going to help mankind? What a bunch of bull$h!+.

  2. If the shark was caught at 2600ft., the decompression likely disabled or killed it before the fishermen even knew what they had… No one has control over what fish is going to take their bait (this shark is a filter feeder, so catching it was a total fluke anyway) I think it is very cool that the shark was kept for study rather than mutilated and returned to the sea to rot.

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