Mackerel sharks
Temporal range: Upper Cretaceous–recent


Great white shark
Carcharodon carcharias
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: Lamniformes
Family: Lamnidae
J. P. Müller and Henle, 1838
Extant genera

Extinct genera, see text

The Lamnidae are the family of mackerel or white sharks. They are large, fast-swimming sharks, found in oceans worldwide. The name of the family is formed from the Greek word, lamna, which means fish of prey, and was derived from the Greek legendary creature, the Lamia.[2]

These sharks have pointed snouts, spindle-shaped bodies, and large gill openings. The first dorsal fin is large, high, stiff, and angular or somewhat rounded. The second dorsal and anal fins are minute. The caudal peduncle has a couple of less distinct keels. The teeth are gigantic. The fifth gill opening is in front of the pectoral fin and spiracles are sometimes absent. They are heavily built sharks, sometimes weighing nearly twice as much as sharks of comparable length from other families. Many sharks in the family are among the fastest-swimming fish, although the massive great white shark is slower due to its great size.

Genera and species

The family contains five living species in three genera and these selected extinct genera and species:[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2009). "Lamnidae" in FishBase. January 2009 version.
  2. ISBN 9781258302863: A source-book of biological names and terms, 1944, Edmund Carroll Jaeger
  • Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Lamnidae" in FishBase. March 2006 version.
Wikispecies has information related to: Lamnidae
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