By Bo Petersen | The Post and Courier

Easy, now. A mako shark is not a great white.

A satellite-signal tagged mako shark is returned to the wild by Guy Harvey. A mako called Matt J. has been circling off Charleston. PROVIDED BY GUY HARVEY RESEARCH INSTITUTE

A satellite-signal tagged mako shark is returned to the wild by Guy Harvey. A mako called Matt J. has been circling off Charleston. PROVIDED BY GUY HARVEY RESEARCH INSTITUTE

It is, though, a more compact version of the shark considered the largest predator in the ocean. Like the great white, a mako is an alpha creature built for speed, big enough to be fond of eating swordfish. So it’s worth pointing out that Matt J., a shortfin mako more than 5 feet long, is circling offshore right now.

After being tagged last May off Maryland with a satellite transmitter courtesy of Guy Harvey Research Institute, Matt J. scampered up and down the East Coast before settling off the Lowcountry in January. It last pinged Sunday, dead east of Charleston, where’s it’s been for the past few weeks. It can be tracked at the institute website.

Matt J. is a good 50 miles or so out. Makos are open-water sharks mostly encountered offshore. Mostly.

On Friday, an 11-footer beached itself at Panama City, Fla., according to media reports.

Shortfin makos are considered fast, even compared with other sharks. They can race along at nearly 50 mph for short bursts, according to marinebio.org.

They are known for their acrobatic twisting leaps from the water, according to Charles Farmer in “Sharks of South Carolina.” Read more…

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