Sharks are a type of fish that belongs to the class of chondrichthyans, that is, fish whose skeleton is mainly made up of cartilage. Are there sharks in the Mediterranean? Well, the answer is yes. In fact, there is a wide variety of shark species that live in the Mediterranean.
We are often afraid of these animals because some of them can be aggressive and dangerous for humans. However, most accidents that occur between sharks and humans are due to these animals mistaking a swimmer for possible food. We can therefore find species of sharks that are not aggressive towards humans.
Currently, few sharks are in any of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categories, as shark fishing and hunting is becoming less sustainable, which has significantly affected the different populations of these fish.
Now that you know that there are sharks in the Mediterranean, let’s see what species live there!
Sharks tend to be wide-ranging animals. In fact, many of them have such a wide distribution that they are considered cosmopolitan species. In this sense, they are animals in constant motion, with migratory behaviors that make them travel long distances. If you want to discover the different animals that migrate, read this article with pleasure.
It is found that the sharks that live in the Mediterranean Sea generally move around the different countries that border this body of water, and it is not common for them to stay exclusively in a specific area. In this regard, some of the Mediterranean countries where the presence of sharks has been reported are:
Now that we have answered the question of whether there are sharks in the mediterranean, you are probably wondering what species live there. Well, the mediterranean sharks correspond to a wide variety of species. In the following list, we present the most common Mediterranean shark species:
blue shark (Prionace glauca)
Also called blue skin, the blue shark is one of the species that inhabit the Mediterranean. It weighs an average of 240 kg and is about 4 meters long. It develops as well in open water than near the coastat temperatures generally between 12 and 20º C. The blue shark is considered a near-threatened species, that is, it is endangered due to pollution and overfishing.
basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus)
The basking shark is distributed at different levels of depth and, depending on the season, its distribution varies, but it generally seeks cold waters with temperatures between 8 and 14 ºC. It is a large animal, usually weighing 3.9 tons and measuring up to 11 meters. It is considered an endangered species.
thresher shark (Alopias superciliosus)
Although it can live in warm waters, it seems to move in cooler waters, but generally remains on the continental shelf, up to 30 km offshore. It measures an average of 1.6 meters in length and weighs around 348 kg. The thresher shark is considered vulnerable due to its very slow reproductive cycle. However, the main threat to which these sharks are exposed is selective fishing.
mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus)
Also called porbeagle, this species of shark in the Mediterranean and many other regions is very mobile. The mako shark has mainly pelagic habits, so it is usually found in open waters at depths of up to 900 meters. The average weight is about 11 kg, and the length is 3.5 meters. It is classified in the category of endangered species.
small fruit bat (Scyliorhinus canicula)
This species inhabits the continental shelf, on muddy or stony bottoms and at different depths, up to 400 meters. It is a relatively small shark, weighing around 2 kg and measuring 1 meter. It is considered of little concern.
Top shark (Galeorhinus galeus)
This ovoviviparous shark is also called tope or big fin shark. It is a cosmopolitan species found in temperate, cold and warm waters. The tope shark is one of the most common species in the Mediterranean Sea. It can reach 2 meters in length and is present in coastal waters down to 800 meters deep, although it is most commonly found at 200 meters depth. It is listed as critically endangered.
Great White shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
Are there white sharks in the Mediterranean ? Yes, there certainly are. Although they have particular preferences for temperate waters, they can also be found in tropical waters. They move on the coasts in the open sea, in deep waters, reaching up to 1800 meters of depths. The maximum size of this shark is estimated at 6.5 meters long for a weight of about 3 tons. Its state of conservation corresponds to the vulnerable category.
spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias)
The spiny dogfish, also called spotted dogfish, spiny shark, or simply dogfish, lives in temperate waters. It is found in some coastal, estuarine and open sea areas down to around 2,000 meters depth, although most are found below 600 meters. The maximum sizes usually do not exceed 2 meters in length, and the weight can vary from 3 to 9 kg. It is classified as vulnerable.
perlon shark (Heptranchia perlo)
This shark can be found on continental and island shelves. Although it is one of the most common sharks in the Mediterranean, there has been a significant decline in its population in recent times. It generally inhabits warm, temperate waters, at depths between 30 and 700 meters. It averages one meter in length and is listed as Near Threatened.
common sager (Etmopterus spinax)
This small shark of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic inhabits muddy or clayey bottoms, at depths ranging from 200 to 500 meters. It usually does not exceed 45 cm, although it can reach up to 60 cm. It is classified as vulnerable.
Other Mediterranean sharks
In addition to these 10 sharks that you have just discovered, we present to you other species that also thrive in the Mediterranean:
- common angelfish (Squatina squatina)
- tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
- common pailona (Centroscymnus coelolepis)
- grief shark (Centrophorus granulosus)
- ferocious shark (Odontaspis ferox)
- Masthead shark (Carcharhinus altimus)
- copper shark (Carcharhinus brachyurus)
- spinner shark (Carcharhinus brevipinna)
- Bluntnose shark (Hexanchus griseus)
- Atlantic catshark (Galeus Atlanticus).
Now that you know the types of sharks that live in the Mediterraneankeep expanding your knowledge about these amazing animals and don’t miss this article on different sharks, names and photos.
Are there SHARKS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN? – Discover 20 species