Types of Sharks – Information on Different Species

Sharks are a species with an infamous reputation. Some species have been known to attack and prey on human beings throughout the years. Countless movies and books have portrayed them in a notorious manner and as a stereotype, we have seen one common depiction of how sharks look like. However, did you know that there are 470 species of these groups of fish? Considering the vastness of the ocean, this number should no longer come as a shock. In addition, not all sharks are dangerous and attack humans. Some of them would rather be left alone or look for food at the depths of the ocean. Not your typical idea of how a shark acts right? Through this article, let us be enlightened about some of the most popular types of sharks. Here they are:

Tiger Sharks

Tiger sharkThe name implies the white stripes that begin to appear on these sharks’ dark backs while on their juvenile stage, the stripes fade away as they mature. Tiger sharks are considered to be one of the most dangerous sharks as they have been known to attack humans even when unprovoked. They are known to be the most aggressive species of sharks to attack humans in Hawaii. Their senses of smell and sight are excellent, they have greatly serrated teeth and powerful jaws – these characteristics make them the voracious hunters that they are. They devour almost about anything that they can catch. These sharks are even capable of crushing the exoskeleton of different shellfish. Objects such as old tires and other forms of garbage have been discovered in the stomachs of some tiger sharks that have been captured. These sea predators can grow from 10 to 14 feet and weigh 385 to 635 kilograms.

Blue Sharks

blue sharkIt easy to tell that these groups of shark have a bluish color from what they are called. Their colors range from light to darker shades of blue. They have a slender body with long and pointed fins, as well as an elongated tail. Their eyes are large; they have pointed snouts and serrated teeth. Blue sharks are known to be adept swimmers and can travel long distances in just a short amount of time. They are fond of attacking schools of fish such as sardines and herring for their diet; however they are known to primarily feast on squid. Even though they are usually found on deep waters, blue sharks are considered to be dangerous to human beings. There have been records of these sharks attacking humans. Considering their swiftness and the strength of their jaws, it is best for us to stay away from these sharks if we don’t want to end up as someone else’s meal.

Angel Sharks

angel sharkYou have most likely seen angel sharks in television documentaries and have known about their peculiar form which is not typical of sharks. If you haven’t, then let us go further into detail about this type of shark. Angel sharks have flat bodies that are similar to that of rays; hence they are usually mistaken to be some other sea animal. You can find their eyes on top of their heads and they have fins that are long and wide, thus their name. Their brownish-gray color makes it easy for them to dwell and bury themselves on the ocean floor. This is where they wait until a prey that they can ambush gets within their reach. Fish and mollusks comprise most of their diet as they are not a carnivorous bunch.

Hammerhead Sharks

hammerhead sharksHammerhead sharks got their name from their wide, long and almost rectangular heads that resemble hammers. The eyes of these sharks can be found on both ends of the “hammer”. They have teeth that are serrated and triangular and a strong sense of smell, making them good hunters. These sharks are known to be aggressive predators, but they are not considered to be dangerous to humans unless provoked. They are fond of feeding on other fishes, sharks, squids and crustaceans. However, they are known to be particularly fond of sting rays. Sharks have a group of sensory organs called ampullae of Lorenzini which are an array of electroreceptors, allowing them to identify electrical fields in the surrounding water. These sensory organs are notably more sensitive in hammerhead sharks, thus it becomes easier for them to sense the presence and catch a nearby prey.

The list for the different types of sharks certainly doesn’t end here. Some of the common shark types are great white sharks, mako sharks, whale sharks and the list can go on and on. It certainly is interesting to take a look into these sea creatures and consider how our oceans are so rich in diversity.

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What Do Sharks Eat – The Shark Diet

With the diversity of sharks, you can certainly expect that they also have varied tastes when it comes to food. However, it is important to point out that humans are not a typical part of the shark diet, as what most of us might have led to believe in. So what do sharks eat? Their food can consist of the tiniest sea creatures like plankton to larger ones such as whales; this would depend, of course, on the kind of shark being pertained to. Hence, let us classify these sharks based on the kind of food that they eat.

Filter Feeders

BASKING SHARKWhale and basking sharks, the two of the largest of sharks are examples of filter feeders. That is, these sharks feed on tiny prey by letting them flow into their mouth and gills. After spotting an ideal spot for having a meal, they open their mouths to let water through, also bringing in their food which consists mainly of plankton (tiny organisms which float in bodies of water). The water will then be expelled through their gills. The term “filter feeding” is derived from this behavior of eating since it involves filtering through the water for them to collect their food.

Small Fish, Mollusks and Crustacean Eaters

looking at school of fishSharks which are usually found at the ocean floor, such as angel and nurse sharks, are examples of these sea creatures that have small fishes (e.g. herring and anchovy), crustaceans (e.g. crabs and crayfish) and mollusks (e.g. squid and octopus) as a part of their diet. Another type of shark, the saw shark, also has this kind of diet. They are also known to love the deep and can also be found on the bottom of the sea. Each of these sharks has their own ways of capturing their prey. In the case of angel sharks, their brownish gray color allows them to camouflage with the sand and rocks of the ocean floor, this is where they wait until prey will swim by for them to catch.

Medium Fish and Small Shark Eaters

with fishSome of the sharks who have the above mentioned as their food are the bull and blue sharks. Bull sharks are known to not be so picky with their food. However, they are fond of eating bony fishes such as flounders, stingrays, and even other sharks like the hammerhead shark. Bull sharks have been known to attack humans and are considered dangerous by many; this is due to the fact that they can be very territorial. On the other hand, blue sharks share a similar diet to bull sharks. They are known to be fond of preying on schools of squid. Fishes like tuna, small sharks and dead marine mammals also comprise their choice of food.

Large Fish and Marine Mammal Eaters

Watch the full video on http://vimeo.com/44297885

Watch the full video of tons of sharks devouring a dead whale on Vimeo

Great white sharks have a reputation for being carnivorous and are among sharks which like having large fish or marine mammals for their meal. They are known to target large fish and other marine mammals for their food. A great white’s diet includes sea lions, dolphins, smaller whales and other sharks. Their sharp teeth allow them to rip apart their large prey into small pieces so that it will be easy for them to do the swallowing.

It is a relief to learn that humans aren’t normally part of a “what do sharks eat” list. As what can be inferred from this list, sharks rely on their natural environment for food. That is, they depend on the diversity of marine life for their diet.

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Great White Shark Facts – A Legendary Hunter of the Seas

Smiling Great White SharkThe great white shark has a reputation for being one ferocious animal. Its name has become synonymous to anything else that would incite fear as its status of being a nasty predator has been well-cemented all these years. The movie Jaws is one such example as it portrayed this torpedo-shaped sea dweller to hunt human beings for their prey. They have been attributed to almost 300 attacks on human beings since 1876, the most number of cases recorded being from the western coast of the United States. [1] Their size alone can make anyone be afraid of great whites, they can grow from 4.5 to 6 meters in length and weigh up to 2270 kilograms. Their sharp and serrated teeth also add up to their features of being referred to as aggressive predators. However, did you know that great white sharks do not target humans as a part of their diet? Besides, most of the attacks on humans are non-fatal. In most of these attacks, the great white sharks are just curious and do not intend to consume humans as their prey. Research has paved the way for us to understand more about these sea creatures. Hence, let us look further into these animals by enumerating some great white shark facts.

Coloration

Despite their name, great white sharks are actually mostly bluish to brownish gray. What are white from these creatures are their underbellies.

Diet

great white about to eat

Great white sharks are carnivores who love to prey on other sea creatures such as fish, rays and even other sharks. The adults of the group feast on much larger prey such as seals, sea turtles, dolphins and other animals found floating on the water. These animals use their heavily serrated teeth to tear down their food to be swallowed for ingestion.

Habitat

Great whites are known to live along coastlines with cold, moderate temperatures. They are found in places such as in the coasts of California, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and South America among others.

Senses

These swimmers have a highly developed sense of smell and they have ability to sense electric charges released by other living beings. These are huge factors for them to be able to catch and hunt for prey.

Population

Although there are no accurate estimations for the number of great white sharks in existence, there is an undeniable decrease in their numbers due to hunting, over-fishing and other factors. Hence, great white sharks are considered to be endangered species and are protected in various places such as in the USA, South Africa and Australia.

Great white shark facts allow us to be enlightened on this usually misunderstood sea creatures. Getting to learn more about these beings lets us appreciate why sharks, specifically great whites, behave the way that they do.

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Shark Teeth – Key to Understanding Sharks

Shark teethA lot of people may not be aware that sharks actually do not have any bones. Their skeletons are made of cartilage, a flexible connective tissue. Hence, what are left of sharks when they die are their teeth. A lot of these shark teeth have either settled on the ocean floor or washed offshore. They do not simply serve as souvenirs (there are people who consider shark-tooth collecting as a hobby) as they are also fossils which are vital for scientists to study and understand how sharks have evolved through the years. In case you didn’t know, sharks have been around for approximately 400 million years.

Sharks have numerous rows of teeth (about five) behind the functional rows which are the front set. Every time a tooth from the functional set falls of, they are replaced by the teeth found on the next row. Shark teeth are constantly replaced over time. Thus, sharks produce quite a significant amount of teeth over their lifetime. However, their teeth aren’t replaced very often in cold temperatures since sharks do not eat much in the cold. Sharks do not use their teeth for chewing food, instead they use them to rip apart large prey so that it will be easier for them to swallow their food.

shark teethWith 470 species of sharks, their teeth also come as varied. Meat eaters have teeth that are sharp and serrated (saw-like) just like the great white and hammerhead sharks. For sharks that are fond of preying on fish, such as the mako shark, they have long, sharp and thin teeth that allow them to easily catch and grip slippery fish. Whale and basking sharks, which are known as filter-feeders due to how they filter water through their gills as part of their eating habit, have teeth that are small and do not have much use. Moreover, did you know that the megalodon, a prehistoric shark, have the largest teeth in the shark populace? These ancient beasts have teeth that can reach up to 7.1 inches in length! They can grow up to 60 feet and these prehistoric giants certainly make a group of great white sharks look like a school of sardines.

In a beach town called Venice found off Florida’s coast, there is an annual event called the Venice Shark Tooth Festival. A lot of collectors and enthusiasts find themselves gathered at the city referred to as the “Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World” every year for various festivities. Of course, the highlight of the event is the showcasing of these relics. You can learn more about this festival through their website.

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Pictures of Sharks – Different Shark Types

Looking at pictures of sharks can make you be caught in awe with these fearsome sea creatures. These photographs can help you see a different side of these commonly referred to as aggressive underwater dwellers. Scroll through this post and be witness to the enthralling sights of sharks even if you are nowhere near the deep blue sea.

Great White Shark

The great white shark is one of the most feared upon types of shark. Its notorious image has been escalated in movies, popularly in the film Jaws. Most recorded shark attacks on humans involve these vicious creatures. However, it is good to note that most of these attacks were non-fatal. Photo Credit: Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic

The great white shark is one of the most feared upon types of shark. Its notorious image has been escalated in movies, popularly in the film Jaws. Most recorded shark attacks on humans involve these vicious creatures. However, it is good to note that most of these attacks were non-fatal.
Photo Credit: Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic

Whale Shark

Whale sharks are commonly referred to as “gentle giants” due to their non-aggressiveness even though they can be compared to whales in size. They are the largest of sharks yet they pose little threat to human beings. This group of sharks are filter feeders and they love staying in warm waters.

Basking Shark

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Whale sharks are commonly referred to as “gentle giants” due to their size. They are the largest of sharks yet they pose no threat to human beings. They love staying in warm waters.

 

The basking shark got its name due to how it seemingly enjoys its basking in the sun. They are second to whale sharks, in terms of size. These sharks are also filter-feeders and are fond of feasting on tiny food such as zooplankton. Photo Credit: Nick Caloyianis / National Geographic

The basking shark got its name due to how it seemingly enjoys its time basking in the sun. They are second to whale sharks in terms of size, thus they are the second largest groups of shark. These sharks are also filter-feeders and are fond of feasting on tiny food such as zooplankton.
Photo Credit: Nick Caloyianis / National Geographic

Sand Tiger Sharks

The appearance of sand tiger sharks may most likely incite fear to those who behold these creatures, but they are actually non-aggressive in nature. Their teeth look striking as they are pointed and slender. These sharks got their name from their fondness of sandy shoreline habitats.

The appearance of sand tiger sharks may most likely incite fear to those who behold these creatures, but they are actually non-aggressive in nature. Their teeth look striking as they are pointed and slender. These sharks got their name from their fondness of sandy shoreline habitats.

Even though sharks are considered as formidable creatures to many, there are quite a number of us who consider fishing for sharks, whether accidentally or intentionally. The next roll of images will show pictures of sharks that have ended up on the hands of our fellow humans.

One of the Biggest Great White Sharks Caught

This 21' 8" monster is one of the biggest great white sharks ever caught. An Australian shark-hunter by the name of Vic Hislop captured this giant in 1985.

This 21′ 8″ monster is one of the biggest great white sharks ever caught. An Australian shark-hunter by the name of Vic Hislop captured this giant in 1985.

 Mako Shark Catch

Mako sharks are fast swimmers that target schools of fish such as tuna and herring for mealtime. Only a few attacks on people have been recorded. The one pictured above was caught by American Jason Johnston last June 3, 2013. This 660 kg catch is said to be the largest mako shark ever caught.

Mako sharks are fast swimmers that target schools of fish such as tuna and herring for mealtime. Only a few attacks on people have been recorded. The one pictured above was caught by American Jason Johnston last June 3, 2013. This 660 kg catch is said to be the largest mako shark ever caught.

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