Mackerel Sharks, known also by their scientific name Lamniformes, are an order of sharks that include the most impressive ocean hunters. Mackerel Sharks are characterized by their ability to maintain blood warmer than the water around them, which makes them stronger more efficient hunters. The Mackerel Shark order includes the two most ferocious hunters in history: The Megalodon and The Ginsu Shark. Though these two hunters are now extinct, but their descendants still dominate the oceans.
Great White Sharks
Perhaps the most famous shark on the planet, the Great White Shark is not only the largest predatory shark in the ocean, but arguably the very best hunter. Great White Sharks have a very diverse diet and will eat fish, sharks, sea mammals, seabirds, cetaceans, sea turtles, cephalopods, and even carrion. They are incredibly smart hunters and will adapt their hunting style to their specific prey. They are also built for hunting. They are one of the fastest swimming sharks and can use their speed to jump out of the water, a behavior known as breaching. Their strong jaws, lined with 222 serrated teeth measuring, can exert a bite force of 4,095 lbf (8,216 newtons). So they can quickly disable and kill any prey. They also have incredible vision and enhanced electro-receptivity to detect and spot prey. So Great White Sharks are truly an example of the hunting prowess of Mackerel Sharks.
Goblin Sharks are the oldest shark species still living. These ancient Mackerel Sharks, dwell deep below the surface at depths of 890-3,150 ft (270-960 m), though they have been caught as deep as 4,300 ft (1,200 m). Goblin Sharks hunt fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods along the bottom of the seafloor. Goblin Sharks are very different from other Mackerel Sharks. They have long snouts that may use to detect and dig up prey along the surface of the floor. They are also extremely slow swimmers and are actually thought to be ambush hunters. However, these differences do not make them any less of a hunter than their other cousins. They are stealth hunters, cruising slowly and patiently through the waters. Goblin Sharks have a unique biology adaptation that allows them to extend and retract their jaw. So when they do find prey, they slowly approach and then quickly extend their jaws and grab the prey before they knew what hit them. So like all Mackerel Sharks, even the slow-moving Goblin Shark is a fearsome predator.
Another impressive Mackerel Shark, is the Mako Shark. Mako Sharks are arguably the best swimmers in the ocean. They clock in at an impressive 60 mph (96 kph) and can swim up to 36 miles every day without tiring. They can also use this speed to breach out of the water up to 30 ft (9 m) above the water line. Mako Sharks are also one of the most intelligent sharks in the ocean. They have a large brain to body ratio and are capable of critical thinking, problem, solving, and complex social behaviors. Their speed and intelligence makes them ferocious hunters. When stalking their prey, they swim underneath, disguised by their metallic blue countershading. When they moment is right they will strike up ward and bite chunks out of the flesh of their prey, returning to bite again and again until the prey is too weak to fight back.
Salmon Sharks are such adept hunters they are often mistaken for their cousins the Great White Sharks. Though they are smaller, they still grow up to an average of 10 ft (3 m) and can weigh as much as 992 lb (450 kg). Like other Mackerel Sharks, their bodies are torpedo-shaped, which makes them streamlined for quicker speeds and more agility. In fact, Salmon Sharks are the second fastest sharks in the ocean, swimming up to 50 mph (80 kph). They can also breach the water. Salmon Sharks also have several biology adaptations that make them ferocious hunters. Like Great White Sharks, Salmon Sharks have incredible vision, with their keen eyes able to focus on faraway prey. They have thin, blade-like curved teeth that grab and tear flesh quickly.
Sand Tiger Sharks
Sand Tiger Sharks, like all Mackerel Sharks are also incredible hunters. Though they have a very different hunting style than their cousins. Sand Tiger Sharks are nocturnal hunters, using the dark ocean waters to hide their presence. They tend to prefer to hunt along the bottom of the ocean in shallow waters. The Sand Tiger Shark is a stealth hunter, swallowing air to help it maintain buoyancy while staying perfectly still. Patiently, it waits until prey appears when it will suddenly and quickly strike. Sand Tiger Sharks have also been seen hunting in groups, using coordinated attacks against large schools of fish. The Sand Tiger Shark also always swims with its mouth open, exposing its three rows of extremely sharp teeth. Thus it is ready to grab prey any time the opportunity presents itself.
Thresher Sharks are very different-looking than their Mackerel Shark cousins. Though they have the same torpedo shaped body, five gill slits, and two dorsal fins that define the order of Mackerel Shark, they also have an extremely long caudal fin. This caudal fin is half their body and since they measure up to 20 ft (6 m) in length, their tails can be as long as ten feet. Thresher Sharks are as adept at hunting as all Mackerel Sharks. However, they have a very unusual hunting style because of their tail. They will use their tail to first attract and trick prey by splashing the water around them. Then when the moment is right, they will slap and strike their prey with the tail. Since they are extremely muscular and fast swimmers, these blows can completely disable the prey. This method of hunting is incredibly smart because not only does it help them kill prey quickly, but it prevents them from sustaining injury during attacks.
Mackerel Sharks are definitely an impressive order of sharks. From their ferocious ancestors the Megalodon and Ginsu Shark, to the modern day Great White Sharks, Mackerel Sharks have a long history of being the best hunters in the ocean. Whether they are ambush hunters like Sand Tiger Shark or Goblin Shark, or aggressive predators like The Great White and Salmon Sharks, Mackerel Sharks are truly fearsome creatures.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.