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AUTOR: Azazel

Basic Facts About Sharks


There are more than 465 known species of sharks living in our oceans today. Sharks are an apex
predator at or near the top of their marine food chains, and they regulate the populations of
species below them. Research has shown that massive depletion of sharks has cascading effects
throughout the oceans ecosystems.

Sharks belong to a family of fish that have skeletons made of cartilage, a tissue more flexible and
lighter than bone. They breathe through a series of five to seven gill slits located on either side of
their bodies. All sharks have multiple rows of teeth, and while they lose teeth on a regular basis,
new teeth continue to grow in and replace those they lose.

Shark skin is made up of a series of scales that act as an outer skeleton for easy movement and
for saving energy in the water. The upper side of a shark is generally dark to blend in with the
water from above and their undersides are white or lighter colored to blend in with the lighter
surface of the sea from below. This helps to camouflage them from predators and prey.

DIET

Most species of shark eat things like fish, crustaceans, mollusks, plankton, krill, marine mammals
and other sharks. Sharks also have a very acute sense of smell that allows them to detect blood in
the water from miles away.

POPULATION

It is difficult to estimate population numbers since there are many different species spanning a
large geographic area. However, overall shark numbers are on the decline due to the many threats
they face in the wild.

Did You Know?


AUTOR: Azazel

Sharks predate the dinosaurs by 200 million years. The largest known species of shark, C.
megalodon, might have reached a maximum length of 67 feet.

HABITAT & RANGE


Sharks have adapted to living in a wide range of aquatic habitats at various temperatures. While
some species inhabit shallow, coastal regions, others live in deep waters, on the ocean floor and in
the open ocean. Some species, like the bull shark, are even known to swim in salt, fresh and
brackish waters.

BEHAVIOR
Most sharks are especially active in the evening and night when they hunt. Some sharks migrate
over great distances to feed and breed. This can take them over entire ocean basins. While some
shark species are solitary, others display social behavior at various levels. Hammerhead sharks, for
instance, school during mating season around seamounts and islands.

Some shark species, like the great white shark, attack and surprise their prey, usually seals and sea
lions, from below. Species that dwell on the ocean floor have developed the ability to bottom-
feed. Others attack schooling fish in a feeding frenzy, while large sharks like the whale and basking
sharks filter feed by swimming through the ocean with their mouths open wide, filtering large
quantities of plankton and krill.

REPRODUCTION
Sharks mature slowly, and reach reproductive age anywhere from 12 to 15 years. This, combined
with the fact that many species only give birth to one or two pups at a time, means that sharks
have great difficulty recovering after their populations have declined.

Soon after birth, sharks pups swim away to fend for themselves. They are born with fully-fledged
sets of teeth and are able to feed and live on their own.