information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.
Only coastal and marine records shown



The porbeagle Lamna nasus is a streamlined and robust shark with large conspicuous black eyes. It can reach up to 350 cm in length and is a dark metallic blue colour with a white ventral surface. It has two very strong caudal keels. The caudal fin itself is large and lunate. It has five large conspicuous gill slits. Lamna nasus has a pointed snout, slightly longer and more pointed than the salmon shark, Lamna ditropis. The first of the two dorsal fins is large and triangular and has a white patch on the back of it. The second is considerably smaller.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Widely distributed throught British and Irish waters.

Global distribution



The porbeagle shark is an epipelagic oceanic and coastal species, which can be found in surface waters down to a depth of over 700 m but can also occasionally venture into close inshore waters.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Large, robust, streamlined shark reaching up to 350 cm in length.
  • Lunate cordal fin and strong caudal keel.
  • Large dark eyes.
  • Dark metallic blue colour with a paler ventral surface.
  • A second caudal keel is present.

Additional information

The porbeagle shark is less slender than the shortfin mako Isurus oxyrinchus (Compagno, 1984).

Listed by

Further information sources

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  1. Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsies, 125, 1-249

  2. Ellis, J.R. & Shackley, S.E., 1995. Notes on porbeagle sharks, Lamna nasus, from the Bristol Channel. Journal of Fish Biology, 46, 368-370

  3. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line], 2008-02-18

  4. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  5. Lallemand-Lemoine, L., 1991. Analysis of the fishery for Porbeagle Lamna nasus (Bonnaterre, 1788). ICES Council Meeting Papers, C.M.1991/G:71

  6. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from:  Accessed 01 April 2017

  7. OBIS,  2018. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2018-09-19


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Lamna nasus Porbeagle shark. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 19-09-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 25/03/2008