Shark Species List
Sharks are one of the most ancient creatures to have ever lived in this world. The shark species list has more than 1000 different types. Sharks have managed to survive more than 400 million years.
It might come as a surprise to many that although sharks are the apex predator, but is on the verge of extinction due to uncontrolled fishing.
Sharks and Rays play a very important role in balancing the marine ecosystem. The continued degrading conditions are affecting different species of shark in the world.
The continued demand for the shark’s fins and meat has led to their rapidly decreasing number in the oceans around the world. Sharks help in maintaining the marine ecosystem balanced.
Introduction to Different Species of Shark
According to the fossil records, sharks appeared almost 400 million years ago for the first time. They have been extraordinarily buoyant which made them capable of surviving the mass extinctions that cleared 95% of all life on Earth.
Today, almost 400 different species of shark rule the world’s fresh and saltwater. Before we share this shark species list, let us first get familiar with their general anatomy.
Understanding Different Species of Shark
Sharks belong to the classification known as Chondrichthyes i.e (cartilaginous fish) these fish have a flexible cartilage structure rather than bone. The Chondrichthyes mainly consist of 2 groups Holocephali and Elasmobranchii.
The major difference between Holocephalans and Elasmobranchs is the structure of the gills and also their growth rate in the embryo.
The Holocephalans have 4-gill slits which are covered with a gill cover known as operculum on the other hand the Elasmobranchs have almost 5 to 7-gill slits which are not covered with any kind of gill cover. The Elasmobranch basically means naked gill.
The Elasmobranchii have 8 orders of sharks. These orders help us in understanding the shark’s biological, physical attributes of the sharks.
Below are the Different Species of Shark in Elasmobrachii
- CarcharhiniformesIt is the largest order of sharks which is also called “Ground Sharks”. These sharks have 5-gill slits their eyes are protected with moveable eyelids to prevent injury. They have 2 spineless dorsal fins along with an anal fin and a big mouth which consist of sharp teeth located just behind the eyes.
This shark species list comprises the Bull Shark, Caribbean Shark, Bronze whaler, Dusky Shark, Galapagos shark, Great Hammerhead, Blacknose Shark, Leopard Mask, Tiger Shark, etc.
This order of sharks comprises only 9 known species. The major characteristics of this order consist of 5-gill slits a dorsal fin along with a strong spine and a sharp and flat rounded set of teeth in the mouth. The Horn Shark comes in this category of the shark species list.
It is considered the most ancient species of sharks alive today. These sharks have 6 or 7-gill slits along with a single dorsal fin and an anal fin. Having thorny teeth sets and live in cold and deep water. The shark species list of this category is Sharpnose sevengill shark, Broadnose seven gill shark, Bluntnose sixgill shark, and Frilled shark.
This category of sharks has 5-gill slits with 2 dorsal fins and an anal fin. These species are capable of maintaining a higher body temperature than the water temperature. This category of shark species list comprises Basking Shark, Crocodile Shark, Goblin Shark, White Shark, Megamouth Shark, and Salmon Shark.
They belong to the most diverse category of sharks. Consists of 5-gill slits, an anal fin, and dorsal fins. Orectolobiformes have spiracles near their eyes and they can be identified with a patterned skin type.
Some of them have a barbel on their chins. This category comprises Nurse Shark, Zebra Shark, Whale Shark, Tawny Nurse Shark, Epaulette Shark, Bluegrey Carpet Shark, and Whitespotted Bamboo Shark.
This shark species is found in almost every marine habitat. It comprises 126 different species of shark. Squaliformes shark species list has long snouts and short mouth. They have 5 gills slits, 2 dorsal fins but do not have an anal fin.
Sharks that come under this category of shark species list are Bramble Shark, Great Lanterns, Gulper Shark, Pygmy Shark, Spiny Dogfish, Kitefin Shark, Greenland Shark, and Cookiecutter Shark.
It is recognized as the flattened body shark in the shark species list. They have dermal flaps in their mouth in front of a snout with nasal barbels. They do not have anal fins and have spiracles on top of their head. Angel sharks come in this category.
They are also called “saw sharks” and have long saw-like snouts. They have 5 or in some sharks 6-gill slits with 2 dorsal fins. These sharks not have anal fins but have wide pectoral fins their mouths have transverse teeth. These shark species are mostly found in tropical coastal waters. The Bahamas saw sharks come under this category of the shark species list.
Below is the further Classification of the Different Species of Shark
Bull Shark (Carcharhinus Leucas)
Belonging to the Carcharhinus Leucas category or the “Ground Sharks”. This shark has a flat broad snout. It is amongst the 43 shark species found in seawater and freshwater. Bull Shark is known for attacking humans worldwide. Bull sharks can eat almost every fish in the ocean such as dolphins.
Horn Shark(Heterodontus francisci)
It is a small shark and can be found in the North American region. Horn shark has a long spine on their high dorsal fins. It also has small dark spots on its brownish-gray skin. The maximum length of this shark is around 1.2m. Although it is large in size it has a small range of homes. These sharks like to stay in the same area for many years.
Sharpnose Sevegill Shark(Heptranchias Perlo)
This is the smallest shark member in the Hexanchiformes category. It is also famous as the Perlon Shark. These sharks are the most identical to the primitive shark from the fossil record. This shark has a simple digestive and skeletal system.
Goblin Shark(Mitsukurina Owstoni)
These sharks dwell in the deepest portion of the ocean it can go as 1200m low. These sharks are mainly found in the western Indian oceans and are seen very rarely as they reside in the lowest part of the ocean. They have an appearance like a blade.
Nurse Shark(Ginglymostoma Cirratum)
Also popular as the Ginglymostoma cirratum. They make sucking sounds while hunting for their prey in the sand. This shark can grow up to the length of 4.5 meters and weigh 150 kilograms. The average lifespan of these sharks is between 25 to 35 years.
Greenland Shark( Somniosus Microcephalus)
As it is very large in size mainly found in extremely cold temperature water. Despite being huge in size the growth rate of this shark is very slow it grows 1 cm per year. The speed at which these sharks move is also very slow, but they prefer fast-moving fish for their hunting time.
Angel Shark(Squatina Squatina)
Also famous as monkfish, its uniqueness is in its size as they grow up to 7 feet only. The weight of an angel shark can be up to 77 pounds. The outer portion of the body gives a muscular appearance despite the fact of being a flattened body shark.
- Bahamas Saw shark(Pristiophorous Schroederi)Famous as American Sawshark, this shark lives in the Atlantic Ocean. They have a unique snout that is longer, flattened, and tapered. This shark species have many serrated teeth on both sides of their snout. They have 13 or in some 14 sets of teeth on each side of their snout. Bahamas sawshark can grow up to 80cm long.
- Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)This species of shark is the biggest fish species in the world which can grow up to 65 feet in length and weigh up to 75000 pounds. Indian, the Pacific, and the Atlantic Ocean are the home of whale sharks. It has gray, brown, or Blueback with covering with light spots regularly arranged.
- Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus)Being the second-largest shark (and fish) species, it can grow up to 40 feet long and can weigh up to 7 tons. It feeds on tiny planktons. Often visible, “basking” at the ocean surface, hence it gets the name Basking whale.
- Shortfin Mako Shark (Isurus oxyrinchus)Popular as the fastest shark, shortfin fin mako is famous for holding the record of swimming up to 32 km/hr. As it grows slowly, the life span of this shark is up to 30 years. It is a very aggressive predator and feeds on, the top of the food chain large marine fishes such as tuna, marine mammals, swordfish fish, and other sharks.
- Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrnidae)This shark gets its name due to the hammer-like structure of its head. They might appear dweeby, but hammerheads are fierce predators. It resides in the warm water of tropical areas. With the anomalous eye placement, on each end of its wide head, the hammerhead shark can scan larger areas in comparison to other sharks.
- Pacific Sleeper Shark (Somniosus pacificus)This slumbering and sluggish creature is a resident of the North Pacific from Mexico to Japan. It is large in size and live-in deep waters. The Pacific sleeper shark is also popular as a sleeping shark due to its sluggish nature. It can grow up to 14 feet in length.
- Leopard Shark (Triakis semifasciata)Famous for their leopard-like dark patches over silver or gray, leopard sharks are the most common sharks off the coast of California. Leopard shark unlike others stores the oil in its liver to balance its weight.
- Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)With its first dorsal, pectoral, pelvic, and tail fins white-tipped, this shark is famous for attacking shipwrecked sailors in subtropical and tropical waters. This fish which was once abundant is now on the verge of extinction, so listed as “Threatened” under Endangered Species Act.
- Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)These very large sharks live in the coral reef habitats in tropical waters of the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. They get their name because of the yellow stripes covering their bodies at a young age. Small dots replace the dots when they reach adulthood resembling leopard sharks.
- Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)These are the mightiest and fiercest sea creatures. Found all across the world in subtropical waters, it has an omnivorous diet. They are slow-moving and have a prodigious sense of smell and sight helping them trace the faintest blood traces.
- Blue Shark (Prionace glauca)Blue Shark gets its name due to the light blue sides and dark blue back. However eccentrically, its indigo color changes to uniform dark grey if pulled out of water. The favorite food of blue sharks is herring and squid, and on certain occasions, it munches on the cadaver of turtles and whales.
We hope the above information will help you understand the different species of shark. Every shark is unique in its own way and it is high time we take some initiative to safeguard these species before they go extinct.
Sharks are those species that help in maintaining the marine ecosystem, getting complete information about these species is very important to save them.