All About Sharks
The Many Parts That Make A Shark
Sharks come in all shapes, sizes and colors, from giant whale sharks to tiny lanternsharks. But even the mighty great white has more in common with the tiny cookiecutter shark than any other fish. So, what does a fish need to be called a shark?
GET TO KNOW SHARKS FROM THE OUTSIDE
Sharks have existed for over 400 million years. Through all that time they’ve evolved into some of the most sophisticated animals on the planet, with a complex system of body parts finely tuned for swimming and hunting. What external body parts make a shark a shark? Tap or click on hot spots to find out. EXPLORE A SHARK FROM THE OUTSIDE
THE RARELY SEEN MEGAMOUTH SHARK
The bizarre, enormous yet gentle megamouth shark keeps to itself and is rarely seen. During the day, it stays far below the surface, coming up to shallow water at night to feed on migrating krill. Its mouth is one of the widest, compared to its body size, of any vertebrate. Featured in Shark Week 2014 Alien Sharks: Return to the Abyss.
THE CREEPY GOBLIN SHARK
These strange sharks were discovered in the late 19th century, but we’re just now figuring them out. The goblin shark can find food even in the darkest depths of the ocean. This eerie alien shark has a long strange snout, with built in electro-sensors and tough extending jaws. Featured in Shark Week 2014 Alien Sharks: Return to the Abyss.
THE SERPENT-LIKE FRILLED SHARK
The frilled shark is an incredibly bizarre shark that may be responsible for at least a few alleged sea monster sightings. This long, snake-like shark has large eyes and row upon row of razor-sharp, hooked teeth. It can consume prey more than half its body length.
THE WEIRD GREAT HAMMERHEAD
Most of us know what a hammerhead looks like, but it doesn’t make them any less bizarre. The great hammerhead’s uniquely shaped head, called a cephalaphoil, gives it exceptional maneuverability. Its eyes are set far apart, give the shark incredible panoramic vision. And its electro-sensory organs are spread across the front of its large, t-shaped head like a giant metal detector, but for stingrays.
THE “FRIENDLY GIANT” BASKING SHARK
A basking shark looks like a “friendly giant,” with its enormous mouth and rounded snout. These sharks, about twice the size of great whites, are actually gentle filter feeders that drift along, their enormous jaws agape, filtering tiny plankton from the seawater.
THE HAUNTING GREENLAND SHARK
Greenland sharks are seldom seen giants that range as far north as the Arctic Circle. These cold-water predators are often found with long parasites dangling from their eyes; these parasites eat the shark’s eyes, but in return they emit light (called bioluminescence) that attracts prey to the Greenland shark’s mouth.
GULPER AND SLEEPER SHARKS
A deep-sea shark’s eyes can pick up natural light better than the best cameras! Both gulper and sleeper sharks live in deep dark waters of the ocean and have highly evolved eyes to seek out prey. Featured in Shark Week 2014 Alien Sharks: Return to the Abyss.
THE EERIE GHOST SHARK
While not a true shark, the ghost shark is very closely related to sharks. As a whole, ghost sharks haven’t changed much in the past 400 million years. They have some very strange features like light-colored skin, huge eyes, and large wing-like pectoral fins. This one was discovered in Shark Week 2014’s Alien Sharks: Return to the Abyss.