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Sharks
Sharks are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. Modern sharks are classified within the clade Selachimorpha (or Selachii) and are the sister group to the rays. However, the term "shark" has also been used to refer to all extinct members of Chondrichthyes with a shark-like morphology, such as hybodonts and xenacanths. The oldest modern sharks are known from the Early Jurassic. They range in size from the small dwarf lanternshark (''Etmopterus perryi''), a deep sea species that is only in length, to the whale shark (''Rhincodon typus''), the largest fish in the world, which reaches approximately in length. Sharks are found in all seas and are common to depths up to . They generally do not live in freshwater, although there are a few known exceptions, such as the bull shark and the river shark, which can be found in both seawater and fre ...
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Great White Shark
The great white shark (''Carcharodon carcharias''), also known as the white shark, white pointer, or simply great white, is a species of large mackerel shark which can be found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans. It is notable for its size, with larger female individuals growing to in length and in weight at maturity. However, most are smaller; males measure , and females measure on average. According to a 2014 study, the lifespan of great white sharks is estimated to be as long as 70 years or more, well above previous estimates, making it one of the longest lived cartilaginous fishes currently known. According to the same study, male great white sharks take 26 years to reach sexual maturity, while the females take 33 years to be ready to produce offspring. Great white sharks can swim at speeds of 25 km/h (16 mph) for short bursts and to depths of . The great white shark is an apex predator, as it has no known natural predators other than, on ve ...
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Whale Shark
The whale shark (''Rhincodon typus'') is a slow-moving, filter feeder, filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known Extant taxon, extant fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of .McClain CR, Balk MA, Benfield MC, Branch TA, Chen C, Cosgrove J, Dove ADM, Gaskins LC, Helm RR, Hochberg FG, Lee FB, Marshall A, McMurray SE, Schanche C, Stone SN, Thaler AD. 2015. "Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marine megafauna". ''PeerJ'' 3:e715 . The whale shark holds many records for size in the animal kingdom, most notably being by far the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate. It is the sole member of the genus ''Rhincodon'' and the only extant member of the family Rhincodontidae, which belongs to the subclass Elasmobranchii in the class Chondrichthyes. Before 1984 it was classified as ''Rhiniodon'' into Rhinodontidae. The whale shark is found in open waters of the tropical oceans and is rarely found in water below . Studies looking at ...
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Bull Shark
The bull shark (''Carcharhinus leucas''), also known as the Zambezi shark (informally zambi) in Africa and Lake Nicaragua shark in Nicaragua, is a species of requiem shark commonly found worldwide in warm, shallow waters along coasts and in rivers. It is known for its aggressive nature, and presence mainly in warm, shallow brackish and freshwater systems including estuaries and lower reaches of rivers. Bull sharks are euryhaline and can thrive in both salt and fresh water. They are known to travel far up rivers, and have been known to travel up the Mississippi River as far as Alton, Illinois, about from the ocean, but few freshwater interactions with humans have been recorded. Larger-sized bull sharks are probably responsible for the majority of nearshore shark attacks, including many incidents of shark bites attributed to other species. Unlike the river sharks of the genus '' Glyphis'', bull sharks are not true freshwater sharks, despite their ability to survive in fre ...
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Carpet Shark
Carpet sharks are sharks classified in the order Orectolobiformes . Sometimes the common name "carpet shark" (named so because many species resemble ornately patterned carpets) is used interchangeably with "wobbegong", which is the common name of sharks in the family Orectolobidae. Carpet sharks have five gill slits, two spineless dorsal fins, and a small mouth that does not extend past the eyes. Many species have barbels. Characteristics The carpet sharks are a diverse group of sharks with differing sizes, appearances, diets, and habits. They first appeared in the fossil record in the Early Jurassic; the oldest known orectolobiform genera are '' Folipistrix'' (known from Toarcian to Aalenian of Belgium and Germany), '' Palaeobrachaelurus'' (Aalenian to Barremian) and '' Annea'' (Toarcian to Bajocian of Europe). All species have two dorsal fins and a relatively short, transverse mouth that does not extend behind the eyes. Besides the nostrils are barbels, tactile sensory organ ...
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Horn Shark
The horn shark (''Heterodontus francisci'') is a species of bullhead shark, in the family Heterodontidae. It is endemic to the coastal waters off the western coast of North America, from California to the Gulf of California. Young sharks are segregated spatially from the adults, with the former preferring deeper sandy flats and the latter preferring shallower rocky reefs or algal beds. A small species typically measuring in length, the horn shark can be recognized by a short, blunt head with ridges over its eyes, two high dorsal fins with large spines, and a brown or gray coloration with many small dark spots. Slow-moving, generally solitary predators, horn sharks hunt at night inside small home ranges and retreat to a favored shelter during the day. Their daily activity cycles are controlled by environmental light levels. Adult sharks prey mainly on hard-shelled molluscs, echinoderms, and crustaceans, which they crush between powerful jaws and molar-like teeth, while also fee ...
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Chondrichthyes
Chondrichthyes (; ) is a class that contains the cartilaginous fishes that have skeletons primarily composed of cartilage. They can be contrasted with the Osteichthyes or ''bony fishes'', which have skeletons primarily composed of bone tissue. Chondrichthyes are jawed vertebrates with paired fins, paired nares, scales, and a heart with its chambers in series. Extant chondrichthyes range in size from the 10 cm (3.9 in) finless sleeper ray to the 10 m (32 ft) whale shark. The class is divided into two subclasses: Elasmobranchii ( sharks, rays, skates, and sawfish) and Holocephali (chimaeras, sometimes called ghost sharks, which are sometimes separated into their own class). Within the infraphylum Gnathostomata, cartilaginous fishes are distinct from all other jawed vertebrates. Anatomy Skeleton The skeleton is cartilaginous. The notochord is gradually replaced by a vertebral column during development, except in Holocephali, where the notochord stays intact. In some d ...
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Sawshark
A sawshark or saw shark is a member of a shark order (Pristiophoriformes ) bearing a unique long, saw-like rostrum (snout or bill) edged with sharp teeth, which they use to slash and disable their prey. There are eight species within the Pristiophoriformes, including the longnose or common sawshark (''Pristiophorus cirratus''), shortnose sawshark (''Pristiophorus nudipinnis''), Japanese sawshark (''Pristiophorus japonicas''), Bahamas sawshark (''Pristiophorus schroederi''), sixgill sawshark (''Pliotrema warreni''), African dwarf sawshark (''Pristiophorus nancyae''), Lana's sawshark (''Pristiophorus lanae'') and the tropical sawshark (''Pristiophorus delicatus''). Sawsharks are found in many areas around the world, most commonly in waters from the Indian Ocean to the southern Pacific Ocean. They are normally found at depths around 40–100 m, but can be found much lower in tropical regions. The Bahamas sawshark was discovered in deeper waters (640 m to 915 m) of the northwes ...
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Lamniformes
The Lamniformes (, from Greek ''lamna'' "fish of prey") are an order of sharks commonly known as mackerel sharks (which may also refer specifically to the family Lamnidae). It includes some of the most familiar species of sharks, such as the great white, as well as more unusual representatives, such as the goblin shark and megamouth shark. Members of the order are distinguished by possessing two dorsal fins, an anal fin, five gill slits, eyes without nictitating membranes, and a mouth extending behind the eyes. Species in two families of Lamniformes – Lamnidae and Alopiidae – are distinguished for maintaining a higher body temperature than the surrounding water. Members of the group include macropredators, generally of medium-large size, including the largest macropredatory shark ever, the extinct ''Otodus megalodon,'' as well as large planktivores. The oldest member of the group is the small (~ long) carpet shark-like '' Palaeocarcharias,'' known from the Middle and Lat ...
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Squaliformes
The Squaliformes are an order of sharks that includes about 126 species in seven families. Members of the order have two dorsal fins, which usually possess spines, they usually have a sharp head, no anal fin or nictitating membrane, and five to seven gill slits. In most other respects, however, they are quite variable in form and size. Most species of the squaliform order live in saltwater or brackish water. They are found worldwide, from northern to tropical waters, and from shallow coastal seas to the open ocean. All members of the family Eptomeridae and Dalatiidae and ''Zameus squamulosus'' possess photophores, luminous organs, and exhibit intrinsic bioluminescence. Bioluminescence evolved once in Squaliformes, approximately 111–153 million years ago, and helped the Squaliformes radiate and adapt to the deep sea. The common ancestor of Dalatiidae, Etmopteridae, Somniosidae, and Oxynotidae possessed a luminous organ and used bioluminescence for camouflage by count ...
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Carcharhiniformes
Carcharhiniformes , the ground sharks, are the largest order of sharks, with over 270 species. They include a number of common types, such as catsharks, swellsharks, and the sandbar shark. Members of this order are characterized by the presence of a nictitating membrane over the eye, two dorsal fins, an anal fin, and five gill slits. The families in the order Carcharhiniformes are expected to be revised; recent DNA studies show that some of the conventional groups are not monophyletic. The oldest members of the order appeared during the Middle-Late Jurassic, which have teeth and bodyforms that are morphologically similar to living catsharks. Carchariniformes first underwent major diversification during the Late Cretaceous, initially as small-sized forms, before radiating into medium and large body sizes during the Cenozoic. Families According to FishBase, the nine families of ground sharks are:
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Frilled Shark
The frilled shark (''Chlamydoselachus anguineus'') and the southern African frilled shark (''Chlamydoselachus africana'') are the two extant species of shark in the family ''Chlamydoselachidae''. The frilled shark is considered a living fossil, because of its primitive, anguilliform (eel-like) physical traits, such as a dark-brown color, amphistyly (the articulation of the jaws to the cranium), and a –long body, which has dorsal, pelvic, and anal fins located towards the tail. The common name, ''frilled shark'', derives from the fringed appearance of the six pairs of gill slits at the shark's throat. The two species of frilled shark are distributed throughout regions of the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, usually in the waters of the outer continental shelf and of the upper continental slope, where the sharks usually live near the ocean floor, near biologically productive areas of the ecosystem. To live on a diet of cephalopods, smaller sharks, and bony fish, the frill ...
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Scalloped Hammerhead
The scalloped hammerhead (''Sphyrna lewini'') is a species of hammerhead shark in the family Sphyrnidae. It was originally known as ''Zygaena lewini''. The Greek word ''sphyrna'' translates into "hammer" in English, referring to the shape of this shark's head, which is its most distinguishing characteristic. The shark's eyes and nostrils are at the tips of the extensions. It is a fairly large hammerhead, but is still smaller than both the great and smooth hammerheads. This shark is also known as the bronze, kinky-headed, or southern hammerhead. It primarily lives in warm, temperate, and tropical coastal waters all around the globe between latitudes 46°N and 36°S, down to a depth of . It is the most common of all hammerheads. Taxonomy The scalloped hammerhead was first named ''Zygaena lewini'' and then renamed ''Sphyrna lewini'' by Edward Griffith and Hamilton Smith in 1834. It has also been named ''Cestracion leeuwenii'' by Day in 1865, ''Zygaena erythraea'' by Klunzinge ...
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