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Species of Sharks

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Sharks are found in shallow water as well as deepest water in the ocean. Some sharks are dangerous and some are not unless provoked.

Species of sharks

There are more than 1000 known species of sharks in the world today. All sharks are interesting to know but few of them are dangerous. Let's know about them which are more famous all over the world.

Whale Shark


1. Whale Shark

The largest shark, and also the largest fish in the ocean is the Whale Shark. It has one of the most distinctive pigmentation patterns in Nature, being greyish, bluish or brownish above and covered with a geometric pattern of whitish spots and vertical bars that has earned it the nick-name "checkerboard shark". It feeds on plankton, small sea organisms as well as larger creatures up to and including small tunas. The Whale Shark has the widest mouth among sharks. This shark is found throughout the world in tropical waters, and in colder water at higher latitudes during summer months.

This massive plankton-feeder reaches lengths of over 20 meters. The Whale Shark also has the thickest skin of any animal, measuring up to 15 centimeters thick on the back. The Whale Sharks may live to over 100 years of age, reaching maturity at around 30 years. Adults typically reach 19000 kg in mass.

Scientific name :- Rhincodon typus

Whale Shark


2. Basking Shark

The second biggest fish and shark is the Basking Shark which is another plankton feeder. It is usually greyish-brown, with mottled skin. It feeds on zooplankton, filtering them from seawater with strainers in its huge mouth. This shark is found in temperate coastal waters. It reaches 10 to 11 meters in length and 5 to 7 tonnes in mass. It is estimated that the Basking Sharks live for about 50 years. The Basking Shark is second largest fish globally, after Whale Shark.

Scientific name :- Cetorhinus maximus

Basking Shark


3. Great White Shark

The biggest meat-eating shark is the Great White Shark which grows to be up to 6.4 meters long. The adult female reaches 4.5 meters to 6.4 meters and the adult male reaches 3.4 meters to 4.1 meters in length. It is one of the most dangerous species known to attack humans. But the reason to attack humans is not feeding. This sharks need a lot of energy to power their large muscular bodies and the humans do not provide high-fat meat. This sharks eat earless seals, sea otter, etc. The Great White Shark can produce nearly 4000 PSI of bite force. Adults reach 520 kg to 1100 kg in mass.

Scientific name :- Carcharodon carcharias

Great White Shark


4. Megalodon

The meaning of Megalodon is big tooth. Megalodon is known to be the largest shark is now extinct. It was an ancient, meat-eating shark that lived approximately 25 million to 1.6 million years ago. Now, we have only fossil remains of megalodon's jaw.

Scientific name :- Carcharodon or Carcharocles megalodon

5. Blue Shark

The Blue Sharks inhabit deep waters in the world's temperate and tropical oceans. These sharks have been known to migrate long distances, such as from New York State in the USA to Brazil - a distance of 7000 kilometres. This is why, the Blue Sharks are known as Champion Migrator of the Shark World.

The Blue Shark is a long slender shark, reaching 3.8 meters in length and 110 kilograms in mass. The Blue Shark's teeth are slender-tipped and serrated in both jaws, but the upper teeth are highly distinctive in shape. They are triangular with highly recurved cusps, strongly serrated edges and bases that overlap each other. The Blue Sharks are one of the most beautiful of all shark species. They are deep blue on their top sides and white on their bottom-sides. This shark is not aggressive towards humans, yet it is one of the most fished. Humans use different parts of this shark, such as fins, teeth, skin, etc. These sharks eat almost everything. However, they prefer some types of fishes and squids. Among the regular fishes they eat are herring, silver hake, white hake, red hake, cod, haddock, mackerel, butterfish, sea raven, tuna and swordfish.

Scientific name :- Prionace glauca

Blue Shark


6. Hammerhead Shark

The Hammerhead Sharks have eyes at the ends of an extension on its head that looks like the head of a hammer, which are flattened and laterally extended into a hammer shape called a Cephalofoil. The Cephalofoil gives the Shark superior binocular vision and depth perception. These sharks are found world wide in warmer waters along coastlines and continental shelves. The Hammerhead Shark ranges from 0.9 meters to 6.0 meters in length and weigh from 3 kg to 580 kg. Lifespan of the Hammerhead Shark is 44 years, and possibly longer. They are usually light gray and have a greenish tint. Like other sharks, the Hammerhead Shark has many teeth. These sharks eat a large range of prey such as stingrays, crustaceans, octopus, squid, sea turtles, seals and fish including other sharks. The Hammerhead Sharks are of nine types-

  1. Wing head Shark
  2. Scoop-head Shark
  3. Bonnet-head Shark
  4. Scalloped Bonnet-head Shark
  5. Carolina Hammerhead Shark
  6. Scalloped Hammerhead Shark
  7. Great Hammerhead Shark
  8. Smooth Hammerhead Shark
  9. Small-eye Hammerhead Shark

Of the nine types of Hammerhead Shark, three of them are dangerous to humans. These are Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Great Hammerhead Shark and Smooth Hammerhead Shark. However, the Hammerhead Sharks are extremely shy, and do not attack humans unless provoked.

Scientific name :- Sphyrnidae

Hammerhead Shark


7. Tiger Shark

Tiger Shark is a large shark often found in tropical waters. It is named for the dark stripes on its grey back. Its wide mouth is full of jagged teeth that, combined with its jaw strength, allow it to cut the bodies of large sea turtles as well as seals, sea lions and cetaceans. Poisonous jellyfish, stingray and sea snakes are its favourite snacks! This shark can reach up to 5.5 metres in length and 900 kg in weight. Lifespan of Tiger Shark is 12 years. It has amazing eyesight, even in comparison with other sharks and has also extremely keen sense of smell. It swims with the maximum speed of 32 km/h. This shark is extremely dangerous. It is responsible for more recorded attacks on humans then any other shark. Fortunately, it is very rarely seen.

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Scientific name :- Galeocerdo cuvier

Tiger Shark


8. Bull Shark

An aggressive shark, the Bull Shark is one of the most frequent attackers of people, since it swims into very shallow waters where bathers are mostly found. Therefore, this shark is considered to be the most dangerous shark to humans. However, shark attacks are extremely rare. Adult males are about 2.1 metres long weighing 95 kg while adult females are about 3.5 metres long weighing 220 kg. This shark is found in coastal waters all over the world. Lifespan of Bull Shark is at least 14 years. This shark can live in both salt and fresh water and can migrate up rivers like Mississippi river, Amazon river, etc. The Bull Shark mate during late summer and early autumn often in freshwater or in brackish water.

Scientific name :- Carcharhinus leucas

Bull Shark


9. Cat Shark

When the light shines on a Cat Shark's eyes, they glow, much like Cats' eyes do. That's because the eyes of Cats and Cat Sharks are both designed for hunting in near total darkness. This shark is always on the prowl. When a fish or squid swims nearby, the Cat Shark lunges with its mouth wide open and makes a quick meal of its prey. An enlarged gill region allows the Cat Shark to live in deep ocean areas with low dissolved oxygen levels. Cat Shark preys on invertebrates and small fishes. This shark reaches up to 0.9 meters in length and 0.73 kg in mass.

Scientific name :- Scyliorhinidae

10. Zebra Shark

The Zebra Shark has stripes on its body that look similar to the Zebra's stripes. Therefore this shark is named the Zebra Shark. The Zebra Shark is sluggish fish that lies on the bottom in wait for prey, depending on their camouflage and lack of motion to ambush small fish that get too close. This shark hunts at night for small fishes, snails, sea urchins, crabs and other small invertebrates that hide out in crevices. The Zebra Shark is nocturnal and spends most of the day resting motionless on the sea floor. This shark reaches the length of 2.5 metres. The lifespan of Zebra Shark is between 20-30 years.

Scientific name :- Stegostoma fasciatum

11. Leopard Shark

The Leopard Shark is found along the Pacific Coast of North America. This shark comes into the shallow water to feed on animals that live in the mud of the seabed. The length of Leopard Shark reaches 1.5 metres to 2.0 metres. This shark can weigh upto 20 kg and live as long as 30 years. This small shark is timid and are not harmful to humans. The Leopard Shark plucks up crabs, clam siphons, fish eggs, etc. It feeds primarily on benthic invertebrates and small fishes.

Scientific name :- Triakis semifasciata

12. Cow Shark

These mysterious deep-diving creatures lead secret lives, often in the deepest, darkest, coldest parts of the ocean. Due to this, we know very little about them. These sharks are large, slow moving and not streamlined. Therefore, these sharks are called Cow Sharks. The Cow Sharks are known to eat fishes of all kinds, crustaceans, carrion, squid and other marine animals. They range from 1.4 metres to 5.5 metres in length. These sharks are aggressive when provoked and is considered potentially dangerous to humans.

Scientific name :- Hexanchidae

13. Nurse Shark

This is a large, sluggish, slow-moving and bottom-dwelling shark that is generally harmless unless provoked. It has very strong jaws, with whisker-like organs on the lower jaws. This nocturnal hunters, which rest during the day in groups, are found in the Western Atlantic Ocean and the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The Nurse Shark can live up to 25 years. This shark feeds on bottom-dwelling fish, octopus, squid, clams, conches, crabs, lobster, shrimp, sea urchins and coral. The Nurse Shark is found between 2.3 metres to 3.0 metres in length and weigh in the range of 90 kg to 150 kg.

Scientific name :- Ginglymostoma cirratum

14. Dog Shark

These are some types of Dogfish (a type of shark) that live in very deep water over 1000 metres deep. The Dogfish has 28 teeth in the upper jaw and 22 to 24 teeth in the lower jaw. This shark feeds on small fish such as herring and small invertebrates such as shrimp, crabs, squid, jellyfish, etc. The female dogfish are slightly larger than males. This is a very small shark that range from 3 to 4 feet in length and weigh is about 8 pounds. Generally, the Dogfish is not considered to be dangerous. Although this shark can live up to 50 years. Both males and females are greyish brown in colour.

Scientific name :- Squalus acanthias

15. Shortfin Mako Shark

The fastest shark is the Shortfin Mako Shark. It has been recorded swimming at speed of up to 74 km/h that makes it one of the fastest fishes on this planet. It can chase down some of the fastest fishes such as tuna and swordfish.

This shark is also the high jump champions of the ocean. It can beat any Dolphin or Marlin by jumping over 9 metres out of the water. It can reach a size of 4 metres in length and 60 kg to 140 kg in weight. This shark feeds mainly on squid, tunas, mackerels, bonitos, swordfish, etc. It can also eat other sharks and sea turtles.

Scientific name :- Isurus oxyrinchus

Shortfin Mako Shark


16. Dusky Shark

The shark with the strongest bite is the Dusky Shark. Its jaws can exert 60 kg of force. It is found in tropical and warm-temperate continental seas worldwide. Size of Dusky Shark varies from 3.6 metres to 4.0 metres in length and mass is about 190 kilograms. Lifespan of this shark is 16 to 23 years for males and 16 to 22 years for females. It mainly feeds upon sardines, anchovies, tunas, mackerels, flatfish, eels, dogfish, cat shark, skates, rays, etc. This shark is potentially dangerous to humans due to it's large size and occurrence in shallow coastal waters.

Scientific name :- Carcharhinus obscurus

Dusky Shark


17. Thresher Shark

The Thresher Sharks have the longest tail among sharks. The upper lobe of their tails is about the same length as their bodies These sharks have big eyes and a small mouth. It can swim with an average speed of 30 miles per hour. This species of shark is very shy and non-aggressive and considered harmless to humans. It can grow up to 6.1 metres in length and 200 kg in mass. Commonly, lifespan of this shark varies between 19 years to 50 years. It feeds primarily on small pelagic fish including hakes, mackerels, squids, anchovies, sardines, etc.

Scientific name :- Alopias

Thresher Shark


18. Oceanic White-tip Shark

The Oceanic White-tip Shark is the most fearless predator and it is the most dangerous of all sharks. This shark can lift it's noses out of the water and sniff the air to find prey over greater distances than by following scent trails in the water. This shark can reach up to 4 metres in length and 92 kg in weight. It is found throughout the world in tropical and sub-tropical waters. The lifespan of Oceanic White-tip Shark is estimated to be 25 years. This shark is primarily known to eat stingrays, crustaceans, gastropods, sea turtles, sea birds, mammalian carrion, etc.

Scientific name :- Carcharhinus longimanus

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Harsh

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