July 14, 2014

Shark Kill Zone Facts

  • Sharks appeared on the fossil scene about 455 to 425 million years ago and today are the dominant predators in virtually every marine and a few freshwater habitats.

  • There are at least 500 species of elasmobranchs or sharks and over 600 species of their close relatives, the rays we know today.

  • Sharks have multiple rows of teeth which they regularly shed. New teeth rotate forward from within the inside of the mouth as if on conveyor belts. This provides the shark with a constant supply of fresh, sharp teeth.

  • Sharks have an upper jaw that is not fused to the skull, allowing the jaws to partially protruded from the head. This allows them to move the entire jaw apparatus away from the skull and take larger bites. Great white sharks, unlike predatory mammals, have high bite force no matter how wide they open their mouths because of the unique arrangement of muscles attached to their jaws.

  • The speed of a predatory strike by a Pacific angel shark (Squatina californica) is about a tenth of a second.

  • The shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) has been recorded swimming at 31 miles (50 kilometers) per hour, and it has even been claimed that it is capable of short bursts of speed of up to 46 miles (74 kilometers) per hour.

  • Blue sharks (Prionace glauca) are built like a long range glider and undertake massive migrations across open oceans of 1,200 to 1,700 miles (2,000 to 3,000 kilometres).

  • The longest journey recorded for a blue shark is a journey of 3,740 miles (5,980 kilometres) from New York to Brazil.

  • The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest shark in the world, growing to as big as 40 foot (12m).

  • Whale sharks feed by filtering plankton from the water. The largest known feeding aggregation of whale sharks is off the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, where over 400 whale sharks have been seen.

  • Electroreceptors called Ampullae of Lorenzini are the tiny black pits which cover shark’s snouts and can sense bioelectrical stimuli.

  • Sharks also have sensitive skin cells along the length of their bodies which detect vibrations in water called the lateral line.  It allows a shark to detect movements in the water, such as the thrashing of an injured fish.

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