July 30, 2018
Dun dun, dun dun, dun dun dun dun DUNNN! Recognise that theme tune? Of course you do! Along with the likes of Bruce and Lenny, the underwater giant from Jaws represents one of the most famous sharks: the great white. Along with the great white and the likes of the hammerhead and the whale shark, there are in fact many species of shark that no-one has ever heard of before. Until now…
1. Bonnethead Shark
Unlike the reputation which proceeds sharks, the bonnethead has an appetite only for leafy greens. That’s right, this shark is all about finishing off their vegetables. Researchers have discovered that seagrass (or seaweed) takes up 50% of the bonnethead’s diet.
The Bonnethead is the smallest member of the hammerhead family and has a narrow shovel-shaped head. This species tends to live in shallow waters and estuaries along the shores of North and South America.
You could say the Bonnethead suffers from a bit of the loneliness syndrome, as they are very rarely found individually – they are typically spotted in groups of three to 15.
2. Megamouth Shark
First discovered in 1976, there have only been 55 confirmed sightings of this incredible species. Just like the name suggests, the Megamouth shark has a huge gob. It’s not just known for its mega mouth, either: the maximum size of this species can reach 23 feet long!
It is one of only three sharks that use the process of filter-feeding. The Megamouth swims through groups of krill with its mouth wide open, pushing out its jaw, and sucks in as much krill as it possibly can. The method of filter-feeding comes from the Megamouth then expelling the water out through its gills.
3. Prickly Shark
Found in many parts of the Pacific Ocean and the waters of Japan and Taiwan, this oddly named shark gets its name from its unusual appearance. Dwelling on the ocean’s floor, the Prickly shark is covered in “shark scales” known as sharpe dermal denticles, which protrude upright from its leathery skin and bear a close resemblance to thorns from a rose stem. These dermal denticles differ to other sharks as they do not overlap making them more prominent.
It may have a prickly exterior and name, but this species of shark is quite the opposite when it comes to interacting with humans. If a diver was to interact with a Prickly shark, the shark would either tolerate the diver touching them or merely swim away.
4. Shortfin Mako Shark
Meet the fastest shark in the world! This speedy shark can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour without even breaking a sweat.
It’s not just its speed that sets this shark apart from the rest of the fish in the ocean: its beautiful colours do too. The top-side dorsal fin can range from deep purples to beautiful indigo colours. So, if you don’t manage to catch sight of this fast-paced fish, you’ll certainly see the shimmer of its colours left on the waves.
5. Angel Shark
Mainly found in the Pacific Ocean, Angel sharks can reach up to 6.5 feet (or 1.9 metres) long and can weigh up to 77 pounds (or 35 kilograms). They are ambush predators and lay motionless, hidden in the sand or behind rocks waiting for their prey to appear. Once the prey is in sight, the Angel shark pounces upon it in a tenth of a second – no wonder they’re nicknamed “sand devils”.
6. Goblin Shark
Known as one of the most odd-looking creatures to inhabit our oceans (we’re not being mean, it’s true), the Goblin shark is also known as the Vampire shark. It lives anywhere with deep water and can be found swimming around at depths of 4,300 feet – that’s four times the height of the Eiffel Tower!
It may have a scary name and even look a little scary, but this harmless species of shark holds no threat towards humans; in fact, there hasn’t been one single Goblin shark attack recorded ever.
7. Frilled Shark
Discovered in the 19th century, the Frilled shark has a set of teeth and a very powerful jaw that even the great white is jealous of. It has 25 rows of razor-sharp teeth and has a total of over 300 protruding from its jawline.
Its body shape is similar to that of the eel, which allows the Frilled shark to hover around in the water. It attacks its prey similarly to how a snake would – it launches itself forward when coming across the prey it wants.
How jawsome are these creatures?! We’re always so amazed by these fintastic underwater giants. If you want to get a closer look at even more different species of sharks, then swim on over and get to see a real-life zebra shark!