Or is it getting too dark to truly understand anything.
I saw Jaws when I was five years old and it was spectacularly terrifying. A real monster hid in the deep and it wanted to eat us. The whole thing was only made more hypnotic and sexy by the fact that Jaws was a mechanical shark. An elaborate robot built to make money.
Fondle our fear with its teeth and we’d give it five bucks.
And because we’re nostalgic and sentimental beasts
Every day this week I’ll be posting about a
different shark or shark issue. To kick off let’s talk about what sharks are.
Sharks are cartilaginous fish, meaning that their
skeleton is made of cartilage rather than hard bone. The only hard bony
structure that a shark has is its teeth, and this is why the only fossils we
have of sharks are their teeth. Sharks also have what is known as dermal
denticles or “skin teeth”. These are v-shaped scales that are made of the same
material as teeth.
Sharks have ampullae of lorenzini which are special
sensory organ called electroreceptors. They are located all around the face of
the shark and under the nose. These jelly filled pores allow sharks to sense
muscle movement of other animals.
There are currently over 400 species of shark know
to us. They range in size from 8.3 inches (dwarf lanternshark) to 41.5 feet
Some sharks are active hunters.
Some are scavengers.
And some are filter feeders.
Some sharks lay eggs (Oviparity).
Some give birth to live pups (Viviparity).
And for some the eggs develop inside the mother
Being apex predators
(at the top of the food chain) sharks are incredibly important to the oceans’
ecosystem and help keep other populations in check. I hope you enjoy shark week
and that you learn something new. I know that most of the things being shown on
TV this week are going to be over sensationalized and made to make sharks seem
like these uncontrollable killing machines but there is so much more to these
beautiful, complex animals.
Happy Shark Week! There are over 400 known species of sharks in the world of all shapes and sizes. Get to know these three shark species a little better.
Great white shark Carcharodon carcharias
One of the world’s largest predatory fishes, great whites are at the top of the ocean food web. Far from being indiscriminate “killers,” they locate their prey—seals, sea lions, dolphins and fishes including other sharks— through smell, eyesight and a well-developed electrical sense. Attacks on humans are rare and probably cases of mistaken identity.
Thintail thresher shark Alopias vulpinus
With a scythelike upper lobe of the tail fin as long or longer than its body, the thintail thresher is among the most easily recognizable of sharks. These migratory, open ocean giants feed mainly on small schooling fishes and squid, which they round up and stun by thrashing the water with their tails. (Image)
Whale shark Rhincodon typus
The largest of all fish, the whale shark can reach 20 meters (65 feet) and weigh up to 20,000 kilograms (44,000 pounds). Despite their huge size, they feed by filtering small fish, squid and krill from the water. Whale sharks are thought to have a lifespan of 100 to 150 years, but relatively little is known about them. Learn more about whale sharks.