Megamouth Shark

Collection Highlights | Updated 3 years ago

A megamouth shark washed up on the beach
Megachasma pelagios
Image copyright of WA Museum

This specimen of a rare shark (Megachasma pelagios) caused a sensation in Perth when it washed up dead on a Mandurah beach in August 1988. It was only the third known specimen to be recorded worldwide and the first from the Indian Ocean.

Fortunately, Western Australian Museum’s curator of fish at the time, Dr Barry Hutchins, was quick to realise the shark’s identity based on a phone description and rushed to the site where he confirmed its identity.

Rather than it being removed to a refuse site, the specimen was carefully relocated to Perth where it was placed in a deep freezer. This was not an easy task as the shark was 5.15 meters in length and weighed around 700kg. It was briefly on show to an enthusiastic public before it was preserved in a giant pit of formalin in preparation for permanent display.

Fish (Ichthyology) Section