Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Chondrichthyes

Subclass: Elasmobranchii

Infraclass: Euselachii

Superorder: Selachimorpha

Order: Lamniformes


The Lamniformes (from the Greek word, Lamna “fish of prey”) are an order of sharks commonly known as Mackerel sharks. It includes some of the most familiar species of sharks, such as the Great White shark and extinct Megalodon, as well as more unusual representatives, such as the Goblin shark and Megamouth shark.

Members of the order are distinguished by cylindrical bodies, possessing two dorsal fins, an anal fin, five gill slits, eyes without nictitating membranes, and a mouth extending behind the eyes. The nostrils are free from the mouth. Unlike other sharks, they maintain a higher body temperature than the surrounding water. They are mainly larger, active, fast-swimming, oceanic and pelagic sharks. There are some coastal, slower, less active sharks.

Lamniformes can be found globally in a wide range of habitats. Most prefer warmer waters; however, some do prefer colder temperatures. All are found only in salt water. Some are highly migratory and social. Lamniformes can be found from the intertidal zone to at least 5,250 feet offshore and in the open ocean

The order Lamniformes includes 10 families with 22 species, with a total of 7 living families and 17 living species. Order Lamniformes (L. S. Berg, 1958). Visit our Planet Shark Divers and Planet Shark Academy Prehistoric Sharks to learn more about some of the select families, genus and species.

Living Families:

Odontaspididae: Sandtiger Sharks (Müller & Henle, 1839)

Bigeye Sandtiger Shark Odontaspis noronhai (Maul, 1955)

Sand Tiger Shark or Spotted Raggedtooth Shark Carcharias taurus (Rafinesque, 1810)

Smalltooth Sandtiger or Bumpytail Raggedtooth Odontaspis ferox (Risso, 1810)

Pseudocarchariidae: Crocodile Sharks (Compagno, 1973)

Crocodile Shark Pseudocarcharias kamoharai (Matsubara, 1936)

Mitsukurinidae: Goblin Sharks (D. S. Jordan, 1898)

Goblin Shark Mitsukurina owstoni (D. S. Jordan, 1898)

Megachasmidae: Megamouth Sharks (Taylor, Compagno & Struhsaker, 1983)

Megamouth Shark Megachasma pelagios (Taylor, Compagno & Struhsaker, 1983)

Alopiidae: Thresher Sharks (Bonaparte, 1838)

Alopias sp. not yet described

Bigeye Thresher Shark Alopias superciliosus (R. T. Lowe, 1841)

Common Thresher Shark Alopias vulpinus (Bonnaterre, 1788)

Pelagic Thresher Shark Alopias pelagicus (Nakamura, 1935)

Cetorhinidae: Basking Sharks (Gill, 1862)

Basking Shark Cetorhinus maximus (Gunnerus, 1765)

Lamnidae: Mackerel Sharks (J. P. Müller and Henle, 1838)

Great White Shark Carcharodon carcharias (Linnaeus, 1758)

Carcharodon hubbelli

Longfin Mako Shark Isurus paucus (Guitart-Manday, 1966)

Porbeagle Shark Lamna nasus (Bonnaterre, 1788)

Salmon Shark Lamna ditropis (Hubbs & Follett, 1947)

Shortfin Mako Shark Isurus oxyrinchus (Rafinesque, 1810)


Extinct Families:

Crow Sharks: Anacoracidae Capetta, 1987 †










Leptostyrax macrorhiza

Cardabiodontidae †

Cardabiodon (Michael Silverson, 1999)

Cardabiodon ricki (Michael Silverson, 1999) †

 Cretoxyrhinidae †

Cretoxyrhina (Agassiz, 1843)

Ginsu Shark Cretoxyrhina mantelli (Agassiz, 1843) †

Otodontidae †


Carcharocles auriculatus (Jordan, 1923)

Carcharocles angustidens (Agassiz, 1843)

Carcharocles chubutensis (Agassiz, 1843)

Megalodon Carcharocles megalodon (Agassiz, 1843) † (genus disputed)