Fun Shark Mackerel Facts For Kids

Ritwik Bhuyan
Oct 20, 2022 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Aug 27, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Shark mackerel facts are interesting.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.9 Min

The shark mackerel (Grammatorcynus bicarinatus) is a species of mackerel fish in the family Scombridae. The shark mackerel range of distribution is limited to northern Australia in the western Pacific Ocean.

The name is quite general for these fishes as the order Lamniformes of sharks and the family Lamnidae are also known by the name mackerel sharks. This is quite confusing as both fishes found in the world have similar names and only the words have been swapped.

One popular fish from the order Lamniformes or mackerel sharks is the great white shark.

These fishes or sharks are true predators and eat mackerel for breakfast. These animals in the genus of sharks also contain goblin sharks, basking sharks, and mako sharks.

The shark mackerel of the genus Grammatorcynus is a pelagic species and is known by the names large-scaled tunny, large-scaled tunny, large scale tuna, large-scaled tuna, scaly kingfish, scaly mackerel, and salmon mackerel. The shark mackerel is called a shark due to the similar shark-like ammonia odor that is generally smelled when filleted.

This smell however vanishes when cooked. These fishes are often caught as bycatch when fishermen usually search for Spanish mackerel fishes of the same genus.

Also, the shark mackerel was earlier confused with the double-lined mackerel of the genus Grammatorcynus. The shark mackerel of the family Scombridae are found usually near coral reefs along Australia's northeastern and northwestern coastlines. However, catching them in the open needs experience.

The identification of this fish can be done by the olive-greenish body with two lateral lines. This fish can grow up to 43.3 in (110 cm).

Due to its oily flesh, this mackerel of the genus Grammatorcynus is not usually considered a quality food on the menu. However, there are some known places where this fish is caught and added to the menu.

For more relatable content, learn about these bonito fish facts and pilchard facts.

Shark Mackerel Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a shark mackerel?

The shark mackerel (Grammatorcynus bicarinatus) is a species of Spanish mackerel found in the western Pacific Ocean.

The order of sharks Lamniformes, also known as mackerel sharks, consists of basking sharks, mako sharks, great white sharks, goblin sharks, and thresher sharks.

What class of animal does a shark mackerel belong to?

The shark mackerel of the genus Grammatorcynus belongs to the family of Scombridae in the class of Actinopterygii in the kingdom of Animalia. These fishes are often confused with mackerel sharks (family Lamnidae) due to their similar names.

How many shark mackerels are there in the world?

The population of this species is not known. They are known to be found abundantly in and around the range and may even swim near the surface of the waters in vast numbers.

They are sometimes known to be caught as bycatch when people actually search for other species.

Where does a shark mackerel live?

A shark mackerel can be found along the east and west coasts of northern Australia. The fish species of the genus Grammatorcynus of the family Scombridae are seen in the western Pacific region.

They are seen in Shark Bay of Western Australia, the east coast of Queensland, and the north of New South Wales of Australia. The search for this species has also led to populations being found in the region of the southern coastline of Papua New Guinea.

Mackerel sharks of the family Lamnidae are found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans at depths of 600-4000 ft (182.8-1219.2 m). They are very common all over the world. They were once abundant in the North Atlantic, but not anymore.

What is a shark mackerel's habitat?

The shark mackerel habitat includes inshore surface waters. This fish is a pelagic species and it occurs in the open sea. This fish species of the genus Grammatorcynus is found over reef flats on rising tides. These fishes are also seen around tidal run-outs on the falling tide.

Who do shark mackerels live with?

These fishes of the family Scombridae are a schooling species and if one is found, several others will be around too. This is great for anglers and fishermen.

How long does a shark mackerel live?

The lifespan of the shark mackerel is not known. Spanish mackerel females can live up to 12 years, while males live only for six years or so.

Blue mackerels as an example are long-lived and have a lifespan of seven years. However, in real life, they only live for one to three years.

How do they reproduce?

There is no information available on the reproduction as well as the shark mackerel egg laid by females. This fish is usually used as food on the menu. Spanish mackerels lay around 500,000- 1.5 million eggs in a season.

Females of a great white shark of the mackerel shark family give birth to one new pup every season.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the shark mackerel is categorized as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.

The last known data according to the IUCN a few years ago says that the population is still very high and a smaller part of the population can also be found in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Protected Area.

The mackerel shark species of the family Lamnidae, however, are abundantly found in all oceans around the world.

Shark Mackerel Fun Facts

What do shark mackerels look like?

The shark mackerel is of olive-green color on the upper side and the body has two lateral lines. One of the two lines is along the back and the second branches off from the first.

This branching off is seen below the anterior dorsal shark mackerel fin spines. It crosses the belly and rejoins the upper lateral line which is below the last dorsal finlet.

Females of Spanish mackerels grow up to 13 lb (5.8 kg) and Spanish mackerels have bullet-shaped bodies. The mackerel shark species is identified by its crescent-shaped tail and slender teeth.

Shark mackerel facts mention how this fish emits an ammonia odor out of its body when cut.* Please note that this is an image of a Atka mackerel, not a shark mackerel. If you have an image of a shark mackerel, please let us know at

How cute are they?

They are not usually considered cute, however, the beautiful coloration makes them elegant.

How do they communicate?

Fishes communicate chemically and tactically.

How big is a shark mackerel?

The maximum length recorded for the shark mackerel is 44 in (111.7 cm).

The great white shark of the order of Lamniformes and genus Carcharodon is a member of the mackerel sharks family and is 11.2-20.9 ft (3.4-6.3 m). Male species of the great white shark are 11.2-13.4 ft (3.4-6.3 m) long.

Females of the great white shark of the order of mackerel shark are often larger than the males. These great white sharks are considered the biggest mackerel shark species in the world.

How fast can a shark mackerel swim?

Spanish mackerels can swim at a speed of 5.5 mph (8.8 kph). We can assume that shark mackerels swim at a similar speed.

How much does a shark mackerel weigh?

The maximum weight of a shark mackerel recorded is 30 lb (13.6 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The shark mackerel male and shark mackerel female are not given different names.

What would you call a baby shark mackerel?

A shark mackerel baby is not given any specific name.

What do they eat?

The shark mackerel diet may include sardines, needlefish, herring, mullet, shrimps, and squids. This is the dietary list of Spanish mackerels. As the shark mackerel is a species of Spanish mackerel, the diet should be the same.

Sharks in the family Lamnidae, containing the genus Lamna and the order Lamniformes, also known by the common name mackerel sharks, are known to feed on sharks, rays, bony fish, squid, and crustaceans. Juvenile sharks sometimes prey on their unborn siblings.

Are they poisonous?

They are not poisonous and often eaten as food.

Would they make a good pet?

They are not considered pets.

Did you know...

The order Lamniformes or mackerel sharks consists of the common great white shark, but it also consists of the goblin shark and megamouth shark, among many others.

Some mackerel sharks like the great white sharks are known to attack humans.

Are sharks related to mackerel?

Sharks are not related to mackerels. Mackerels are a staple food for sharks.

Mackerel sharks are aptly named for their preferred prey, including herring, mackerels, and sardines.

How did shark mackerels get their name?

Shark mackerels have a similar shark-like ammonia odor coming out of their body when cut.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these rainbow cichlid facts and Arctic char facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable fish outline coloring pages.

* Please note that the main image is of a mackerel, not a shark mackerel. If you have an image of a shark mackerel, please let us know at

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Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

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Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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