August 17, 2014

Did You Know? Fun Facts About Sharks

10 facts about sharks

As Shark Week comes to a close, I hope you tuned into at least one of Discovery's fascinating programs on this iconic creature and learned some new. Whether you did, or you didn't this post is for you. Forgive me for being scientific, being a Marine Bio nerd is what I do best.

Whether you love them or hate them, sharks fascinate us - from the way they move through the water to the way they hunt. But, what makes them different from any other fish in the ocean?

Here are 10 fun facts about sharks:

Sharks have been around for over 450 million years.

There are over 400 species of shark in the world's oceans.

Unlike other fish, sharks have skeletons made entirely of cartilage, like our ears and noses. This provides them with a more flexible movement through the water.

Some sharks must keep swimming in order to breath. They need constant movement of water over their gills in order to provide them with oxygen.

Sharks share our senses – those of smell, taste, hearing, touch, and sight. However, since they inhabit a world very different from ours, they also have a sixth sensitivity... to electric fields! These receptors are located on the shark's head and called ampullae of Lorenzini.

Shark skin is covered by dermal denticles, toothlike scales that are covered with enamel.  This design is successful in minimizing drag and maximizing swimming efficiency.  

A shark’s teeth are arranged in rows, the number and size of which varies from species to species. Every time a shark loses a tooth, the tooth in the row behind it moves up to take its place. Depending on the species, a shark may produce, use, and shed as many as 6,000 teeth each year!

To assist with buoyancy, sharks have a large, oil-filled liver that takes up a large part of their body cavity. Their liver helps reduce their overall density and provides them with the ability to ascend and descend in water.

It's easy to tell a boy shark from a girl shark by the presence or absence of claspers. These finger-like projections associated with the pelvic fins, on the underside, of a male shark act as the reproductive organ.

Sharks play a vital role in the oceans in a way that an average fish does not. They are at the top of the food chain, helping keep food webs in balance and prey populations healthy.

Did you learn something new about this amazing creature?

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  1. Sharks are defiantly fascinating creatures, and I highly respect them. But...that doesn't stop me from NOT going into the Pacific Ocean.

  2. Wow, I didn't know any of those things actually! Fascinating to learn more!

  3. so interesting! sharks are terrifying haha. happy shark week :)

  4. also - this map is an AWESOME giveaway! thank you!


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