When considering the shark species there are a lot of shark species. Some of them can be named as basking shark, mako shark, lemon shark, cookie-cutter shark, blacktip shark, leopard shark, blue sharks, finning sharks and there are many more.

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First of all, let’s see the scientific classification of sharks. They can be classified as below.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Chondrichthyes

Subclass: Elasmobranchii

Superorder: Selachimorpha

If we go further more in classifications they can be classified into nine orders as below,

Carcharhiniformes

Heterodontiformes

Hexanchiformes

Lamniformes

Orectolobiformes

Pristiophoriformes

Squaliformes

Squatiniformes

Symmoriida (extinct)

Each order tells us about the biology, physical characteristics and behavior of sharks in that specific order. So let’s take a tour of shark world!

Angel Shark

Squatina squatina

Nick Long, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The front section of the body is flattened and its pectoral fins are wide. Pectoral fins resemble rays or skates. The rear section of the body is similar to other sharks. When considering the body color, they are grey to reddish or greenish on the back and they also have small white spots and blackish dots and spots. Sometimes you can see a white nuchal spot and there are no ocelli. Young Angel Sharks often have white reticulations and large dark blotches while adults are planar.

When considering the size, it is born at a length of 0.8-1 ft while mature females are 4.1-5.5 ft and males are 6-7.3 ft in length. Angel Sharks like to live in mud and sand bottoms inshore 16.4 ft on coasts and estuaries up to over 150m on the continental shelf. They prefer to feed on flatfishes, skates, crustaceans and mollusks. The gestation is 8-10 months and it’s from December to February and sometimes it could be July. They litter 7 to 25 pups and the number of pups increases with the size of the female.

These amazing creatures show very beautiful behaviors. In the daytime, it buries its body in the sand or mud while protruding the eyes out of it. At night they swim strongly off of the bottom area of the water body. Angel sharks are seasonal migrators in cold water, moving northwards in the summer.

The distribution of Angel Sharks can be seen in Northeast Atlantic: historically from Norway to Mauritania, Canary Islands, Mediterranean and Black sea. But there are no new records from some of these areas. These creatures are a vulnerable target and bycatch species in bottom trawl, line gear and fixed bottom nets.

Blacktip Reef Shark

Carcharhinus melanopterus

Kakidai, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Blacktip Reef Shark is a moderate size shark with a stocky brownish-gray color above body and white below. It has a short and bluntly rounded snout. You can see black & white on the tips of the first dorsal fin and lower caudal-fin lobe. There’s a prominent black patch on the first dorsal fin and ventral caudal lobe which is highlighted with white. There are blackfin tips in other fins and you can see a prominent white band on the flank.

Angel shark has narrow upper jaw teeth and those are erect with coarse serrations and cusplets. Lower jaw teeth are also narrow with serrated cups while they are erect to oblique. Usually, adults are less than 5.25 ft. Males mature at 3-3.25 ft and sometimes they can grow up to 5.9 ft long. Mature females are 3.15-3.7 ft long and they also can grow up to 4.3 ft long.

Blacktip Reef Sharks can be seen in the tropical Indo-Pacific region, Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean. They like to get small fish and invertebrates as their food source. These creatures are viviparous animals with a yolk sac placenta. Two to four pups are littered at a time and they are 13-20 inches long in size. Usually, pups are born from late winter to early summer and the females have a gestation of 16 months.

They can be found swimming in calf-deep water while their tips of dorsal fins breaking the surface. Blacktip Reef Sharks are usually responsible for non-fatal shark bites.

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Blacktip Shark

Carcharhinus limbatus

Amada44, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Blacktips sharks have a black tip in all fins except the anal fin. These creatures have an inner dorsal ridge. Their body color varies from dark grey, blue-grey to dusky bronze while having a white below the body. A pale color band extends along its flank from the region of its pectoral fin to its pelvic fin.

Blacktip Sharks have symmetrical erect teeth with finely serrate edges in both jaws. In the upper jaw, they have broad teeth with narrow cusps while having narrow teeth in the lower jaw. A mature male Blacktip Shark can be 5.9 ft long while a mature female can be 6 ft long.

These sharks are inshore sharks that can be found in shallow coastal waters in estuaries and river mouths while distributed in tropical and subtropical continental seas. Preferred food types are schooling fish, small sharks, rays, squids and cuttlefish.

Those animals are viviparous animals with a yolk-sac placenta. They usually give birth to 4-10 pups which are 13-26 inches in size. These sharks are active sharks and they can be seen spinning and leaping above the surface water. In winter seasons Blacktip Sharks migrate to deep water. Numerous non-fatal shark bites are caused by those sharks.

Blue Shark

Prionace glauca

Mark Conlin/NMFS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As the name implies this shark is blue in color and it is one of the most beautiful sharks. It owns a slim body with a long conical snout. Eyes are large in size and they have long narrow scythe-shaped pectoral fins well in front of the first dorsal win with no inner dorsal ridge.

When considering the teeth, they have curved, saw-edged, triangular-shaped upper teeth. These sharks are also viviparous sharks with a yolk-sac placenta. They litter 4-35 pups per litter which are 1.1-1.4 ft long and the gestation period is 9-12 months long. Males mature at 6-9.2 ft while female sharks mature at about 7.2 ft.

These animals are oceanic and pelagic animals and usually can be found off the edge of the continental shelf from 0-1148 ft. Nursery areas of these amazing creatures can be found in offshores. Blue Sharks can be located worldwide in temperate and tropical oceans by showing a wider range of areas.

The feeding materials of these sharks are small prays, usually squid, pelagic fish, invertebrates, bottom-dwelling fish and small sharks. Those sharks swim slowly at the surface of the water with the tips of their dorsal and tail fins out of the water. These creatures are the most heavily fished shark in the world mainly to take the valuable shark fin. Although it is a timid animal there are some aggressive records as well.

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Basking Shark

Cetorhinus maximus

Green Fire Productions, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Basking shark is a king shark with is very large in size with a pointed snout. You can see a huge mouth and gill slits while there are strong lateral keels on the caudal peduncle. These sharks own lunate tails. The color of the body varies while there’s a dark color in the above region of the body than the below region. Mottled patterns can be seen on the back and sides insides there are white blotches under its head.

These animals are presumably oophagous and litter 1-6 pups per litter. Males mature at less than 18ft while females mature at 26 ft. They use planktons as the food source. These sharks can be found worldwide in cold to temperate seas along the coast to the edge of the continental shelf.

They swim on the surface while feeding by opening its mouth and sometimes these sharks can be seen as groups. A highly migratory shark among the sharks. The Basking Sharks have been listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and are a protected species in several countries.

Bull Shark

Carcharhinus leucas

Pterantula, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bull Shark has a stocky heavy body with a gray color body and it has a short bluntly rounded snout. It has a gray color body with a faint white band on its flank. Young sharks have a dusky fin tip. The upper jaw has triangular and strongly serrated teeth while lower jaw teeth are slender, pointed and edged with fine serrations.

These sharks are viviparous sharks with a yolk-sac placenta and have a nearly one-year gestation period. They litter 1-13 pups in a litter and pups are 22-31 inches long. Males mature at 5.1-7.4 ft while females mature at 5.9 to 7.5 ft.

Usually, these sharks can be found close to inshore in water less than 100 ft deep. When considering the distribution, they can be found in tropical and subtropical shallow coastal waters worldwide. Primarily these sharks take born fishes, small sharks, skates, turtles, birds, mammals and crustaceans as their feed.

According to the divers reports Bull Sharks are rarely seen at the surface. This shark species is aggressive with massive jaws and can be named as one of the most dangerous tropical sharks.

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Cookiecutter Shark

Isistius brasiliensis

Jennifer Strotman, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Cookie cutters are small cigar-shaped sharks with very short bulbous snouts. The shark has suctorial lips and its dorsal fins are set far back and the caudal fin is large and nearly symmetrical paddle-shaped. The body is medium grey or grey-brown in color and it has a prominent dark color collar mark around its throat. There are luminous organs covering its lower surface except for fins and collar and these luminous color organs glow bright green in color.

These sharks have large lower teeth which are triangular in shape and it is located in 25-31 rows. They show a presumably ovoviviparous reproduction while littering 6-7 pups one time. Males mature at a length of 1-1.2 ft while females mature at 1.2-1.4 ft. Usually, those sharks feed on deepwater fish, squid and crustaceans.

Cookie cutters can be found from 278 -11482 ft deep in the sea and usually can be found near the island which acts as feeding or pupping grounds. They are in the Atlantic, Southern Indian and Pacific Oceans. Although these sharks are poor swimmers, they are too small to be taken by most fishers.

Goblin Shark

Mitsukurina owstoni

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Goblin_shark,_Pengo.jpg

Goblin Shark is a pinkish white shark with a soft, flabby body and it has an unmistakable flat, elongated snout. It has a long tail fin with no ventral lobe and has a protrusible ventral lobe. They have long-cusped, slender teeth. Males mature at 8.7 ft while females mature at 11 ft.

Soft-bodied fishes and squids are the main food types of these sharks. Goblins prefer deep water while they can be found in the Atlantic, Western Indian and Pacific Oceans. These creatures are poor swimmers and they are caught by fishermen.

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Great Hammerhead Shark

Sphyrna mokarran

As the name implies it has a hammer-shaped head with a nearly straight anterior margin. The very first dorsal fin is very tall and falcate. The above body color is dark olive green to brownish-gray while the below part is white in color. They have a strongly serrated teeth system.

These animals are viviparous animals with a yolk-sac placenta and usually, they litter 13-42 pups by following 7 months of gestation. Pups are 20-28 inches in length. Largest shark among the hammerhead sharks. Females mature at a length of 8.2-9.8 ft while males mature at a length of 7.7-8.8 ft. Great Hammerhead Sharks feed on a variety of prey while having better favors on stingrays, groupers and sea catfishes.

These animals are coastal-pelagic and semi-oceanic sharks occurring close inshore as well as offshore. Divers says these sharks are unaggressive but due to its large size it is considered potentially dangerous.

Featured image by: Photo by Laura College on Unsplash

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