BioPHILe
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August 10 2013, 04:53 PM

10 Cool Sharks You Probably Don’t Hear Much About During Shark Week

Since Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” is anything but educational now, I wanted to end the week with a post that actually contains information about some less frequently mentioned sharks.

Cookiecutter Shark (Isistius brasiliensis)
A dogfish shark; only 20 in (50 cm) long, yet they have the largest teeth, compared with their size, of any living shark. They feed by gouging round plugs of flesh from their victims. Read more about this shark

Dwarf Shark (Etmopterus perryi)
A dogfish shark; only around 6 in (15 cm) long. The smallest known living shark. It lives in deep water, in the Pacific Ocean. It seems likely that it makes vertical migrations, as it has also been caught in shallow seas. Like many deep-sea fish, it has light organs on its underside. It is protected by a spine on its first dorsal fin. Read more about this shark

Gray Reef Shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos)
A requiem shark; measures 8 ft (2.5 m) in length. Divers may encounter gray reef sharks since they are often found in lagoons and on the outer edges of reefs. They are not usually dangerous, but may be territorial. If it feels threatened, a gray reef shark will warn intruders by arching its back into an aggressive posture. Read more about this shark

Greenland Shark (Somniosus microcephalus)
A sleeper shark. One of the largest living species of shark, of dimensions comparable to those of the Great White; grow to 21 ft (6.4 m) long, and possibly up to 24 ft (7.3 m) long, but most Greenland sharks observed have been around 8-16 ft (2.44-4.8 m) long. Greenland sharks are sometimes called “sleepers” because they are sluggish sharks. They live in cold, northern waters — under the ice during winters. They eat carrion, and large numbers may gather to gorge on a whale carcass. One has been found with a reindeer and a polar bear jaw in its stomach. Read more about this shark

Horn Shark (Heterodontus francisci)
A bullhead shark; maximum total length is 4 ft (122 cm), with most adults reaching lengths of 3.2 ft (97 cm). The horn shark rests during the day, often in groups of several individuals. It hunts at night, using its sense of smell to find food. Though not closely related to the extinct Hybodus, it has large spines on the leading edge of its dorsal fins. Read more about this shark

Leopard Shark (Triakis semifasciataI)
A houndshark; grows to about 5 ft (1.5 m) in length. The leopard shark gets its name from its golden, blotched skin. Like some other carpet sharks, it has a flexible body that allows it to turn around in small spaces. It feeds mainly on clams, using its flat-topped teeth. Most of its time is spent cruising on the seabed, searching for food. Read more about this shark

Starry Smoothhound (Mustelus asterias)
A houndshark; reaches a length of up to 4.59 ft (1.4 m). Starry smoothhounds are sluggish sharks that live in shallow seas in many parts of the world. They are so named because of the small, white spots that break the dark shade of their sides and back. One species that lives off the US coast is able to change its color from gray to pearly white, taking about two days to complete the transition. They have large pectoral fins and feed on bottom-living invertebrates. Females give birth to up to 40 pups at a time. Some species emit an unpleasant smell. Read more about this shark

Swell Shark (Cephaloscyllium ventriosum)
A catshark; the maximum reported length of the swell shark is 43 inches (110 cm) total length. However, this species is more commonly observed at lengths of approximately 35 inches (90 cm). The swell shark is nocturnal. It rests in crevices or among giant kelp during the day. If disturbed, it swallows water or air, and swells out its body to about twice its size. This makes it almost impossible to pull from its hiding place. Groups sometimes rest lying on top of one another. Read more about this shark

Common Thresher Shark (Alopias vulpinus)
A lamniform shark; can grow up to 20 ft (6 m) long. The upper lobe of its tail may make up half of the body length. The common thresher is a surface swimmer, hunting small fish such as herring or sardines. Common thresher pups may be 5 ft (1.5 m) long at birth. They are thought to work in pairs, lashing their tails to frighten groups of fish into a tight pack that can be caught easily. Threshers are sought after by game fisherman, as they are exciting prey. However, they can inflict severe injuries with their powerful tails. Read more about this shark

Tasseled Wobbegong (Eucrossorhinus dasypogon)
A carpet shark; The maximum size of the tasselled wobbegong is believed to be 4 feet (1.25 m) total length. Wobbegongs lie half buried in the sand, camouflaged by their speckled colors. Their front teeth are sharp and daggerlike. If food is scarce, these sharks are able to clamber out of the water and cross a reef, from one rock pool to another. Read more about this shark

[Sources used: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Education/bioprofile.htm and Pope, J. (1997). Sharks. New York, N.Y.: DK Pub..]

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