On the face of it, this Mako shark may not be the prettiest creature on the planet. But would you dare say it to its face?
The Mako has a reputation as one of the deadliest and fastest sharks in the ocean and could certainly make its displeasure known if it wanted to.
With its seemingly lifeless eyes and terrifyingly sharp teeth the Mako has been known to stalk its prey at lightning speeds of almost 100kmh – and has even been known to attack humans.
But Mexican photographer and diver Gerardo del Villar has set out to prove that the world’s ‘deadliest’ sharks are misunderstood – by taking these stunning pictures of the shark without the protection of a cage in a bid to save the species from overfishing.
At up to 10 ft in length and weighing in up to a hefty 135kg, the Shortfin Mako, sometimes described as the ‘peregrine falcon’ of the shark world because of its speed, will not hesitate to attack especially when provoked.
The shark has even been known to break free of fishing lines and try its best to attack fishermen attempting to catch it, battering their boat and sometimes leaping out of the water up to an impressive 20ft.
The sharks are mainly found in relatively warm water most commonly in the Atlantic from Argentina to the Gulf of Mexico.
Though they are often seen hunting around the surface, they can live at depths of up to 490ft and have a distinct advantage over their prey because their body temperature is seven to 10 Celsius warmer than the temperature of the water.
But even though they are renowned for being incredible hunters, numbers of the species are diminishing because they are often the target of fishermen hoping to catch them for their lean meat and fins which are used for medicinal purposes in some cultures.
Gerardo del Villar, who faced down more than 600 bulls in a 10-year career as a matador in Mexico, took these magnificent snaps to raise awareness of overfishing.
As well as the Mako, Gerardo also got up close and personal with the Bull Shark, Great Whites, Sand Tigers, Oceania White Tips and the Blue shark.
He said: ‘I want to demonstrate to the rest of the world that sharks are not killing machines and help create a culture that cares for and protects different species of sharks.
‘I want to prove sharks are predators whom are wrongly tagged as killers, they are everything but. Most of the shark attacks on humans, are caused out of identity confusion.’
Earlier this month, American scientists claimed that sharks could face extinction if overfishing continues with up to 100 million being killed each year.
Because sharks take a long time to grow and reproduce slowly, they fear that some species could be wiped out altogether.
Gerardo del Villar is no stranger to facing ferocious creatures.
He faced down more than 600 bulls in a 10-year career as a matador in Mexico.
He suffered nine broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, two fractures of the sternum, two horn stabbings, a collapsed lung and a host of other bumps and scrapes from his time in the ring.
But fearless Del Villar combined his passions for scuba diving and photography and decided to dive with the 10 most dangerous sharks in the world without a cage to highlight how misunderstood they are.