Salmon Shark

Salmon Shark (Lamna ditropis)

A salmon shark, smaller cousin of the great white shark, was seen briefly above International District vent field in Axial Caldera during the ascent. Credit: UW/NSF-OOI/WHOI, Dive J2-1556, V23.

A smaller relative of the great white shark, these homeothermic predators are fairly common in the northern Pacific ocean, spending most of their time in epipelagic waters. The name derives from their most common prey species, but they have a varied diet of pelagic fish and squid. They are grey to black in coloration, with a lighter ventral surface with darker blotches. Salmon sharks have a short snout with forward-positioned eyes and are generally 2-3 m (6-9 feet) in length when fully grown.

We have only rarely observed these sharks during VISIONS cruises. One was seen during ROV ascent above the International District vent field at Axial Seamount in 2023.