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Rare discovery unveils enigmatic world of Megamouth Sharks: Pregnant giant washes ashore



Scientists puzzled by rare Megamouth Shark found stranded on Philippine beach

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In a startling revelation that underscores the vast mysteries of our oceans, an exceedingly rare event unfolded on the shores of the Philippines as a colossal pregnant Megamouth Shark washed up, captivating scientists and challenging our understanding of these elusive giants.

Known formally as Megachasma pelagios, the Megamouth Shark derives its name from its massive mouth, akin to its colossal relatives, the Whale Shark and the Basking Shark. Unlike its fearsome reputation, this filter-feeding species poses no threat to humans.

The extraordinary discovery occurred on November 14 when the lifeless body of the Megamouth Shark, accompanied by a smaller pup and carrying six more pups internally, was found. This unique insight into their life cycle sheds light on the mysteries surrounding these awe-inspiring creatures.

Sharks, a diverse group with a lineage predating the existence of trees, exhibit varied reproductive strategies. While some lay eggs, exemplified by the distinctive ‘mermaid’s purses’ often found on beaches, others give birth to live litters. The Megamouth joins the latter category, revealing a reproductive process that adds to the limited knowledge accumulated since their discovery in 1976.

This elusive species, with only around 120 individuals spotted or captured, prefers the depths of the ocean. The stranded mother, measuring an astonishing 5.6 meters, and the pups, ranging from 1.65 to 1.83 meters, provide a rare opportunity for scientists to delve into their hidden lives.

As the Megamouth is rarely observed due to its usual depth, the stranded individuals offer a unique chance to study these giants. The mysterious circumstances surrounding their stranding raise questions about potential distress factors, although experts note the absence of injuries from fishing equipment or boats.

The marine marvels, now under the scrutiny of researchers, hold the promise of unveiling further secrets about Megamouth Sharks, offering a glimpse into the enigmatic lives of these extraordinary creatures.


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