When you hear the word shark, what type of shark immediately comes to mind? In most cases, people probably think about Great Whites, Tiger sharks, maybe even the Whale shark or the Bull shark. These sharks are great, but there are over 400 different species of sharks out there in the world, and with Shark Week starting August 9 on the Discovery Channel, I thought you might like to be introduced to some different species you might not know about. Rather than list facts about all of them, here are a few interesting sharks you should know more about.
The frilled shark is found near the sea floor, at depths of 120-1280 meters deep, though they do occasionally make their way to the surface. They are thought to have a wide distribution, with frilled sharks being found in certain places in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. It is an eel-like shark that can reach up to 2m in length. They have 6 pairs of frilly gill slits. These sharks feed on cephalopods (mainly squid), bony fish, and other sharks. Their hunting method is unknown, though we do know it is a weak-swimming shark.
The swell shark is found in the Eastern Pacific from central California to southern Mexico, with some found along the coast of central Chile.This is a bottom dwelling shark commonly found at depths between 5 and 37 meters deep. Swell sharks are well camouflaged sharks, that are found during the day in caves and shallow crevices in rocks and kelp forests. They feed at night, preferring to ambush their prey of small fish, molluscs, and crustaceans. Average size for this shark is 32 to 34 inches long. The swell shark gets its name due to its ability to swallow a large amount of seawater, which will make its body almost twice its normal size. This makes it harder for predators to either bite the swell shark or remove it from its cave or crevice.
It is found in the tropical waters of the Western Pacific. They prefer to live in coral reefs, in shallow water of 6 to 131 feet depth. It grows up to 4 feet in length, and has a flattened body. In addition to its coloring helping it to blend in, the tasselled wobbegong has a fleshy beard around its chin, which helps break up its outline. During the day, this shark rests in sheltered areas, such as under ledges or in caves. At night, it lays motionless on the seafloor and waits for its prey to swim by, then ambushes it. The tasselled wobbegong’s mouth is so large it has been seen swallowing other sharks whole. Its diet mainly consists of bottom dwelling fish and invertebrates.
The Speartooth shark is native to Western Pacific areas like northern Australia and New Guinea. It is found in coastal marine waters and tidal reaches of large rivers. Little is known about this species of shark. It is estimated to reach up to 9.84 feet in length. Juveniles eat prawns, catfish, and burrowing gobies, while bony fish and stingrays are thought to be the prey of the adults. It has adapted to living in cloudy water with low visibility.
Whether you’re a shark enthusiast or just curious about them, it’s clear that sharks are a pretty amazing group of animals. See what other little-known species you can discover!