The ocean is a dangerous place where creatures must constantly adapt in order to live. Sharks have been around for more than 400 million years, giving them plenty of opportunity to adapt to their habitats and lives. Sharks have become strange as a result of some of these adaptations.
1. Greenland Shark (Somniosus microcephalus)
The Greenland sharks are the world’s northernmost sharks, found near Greenland and Iceland. Their flesh contains high quantities of urea and TMAO, which generate a natural antifreeze, allowing them to exist in cold waters ranging from -1 to 10 degrees Celsius. As a result, their meat is toxic. They are eaten in Iceland, but the flesh must be prepared for months before it can be eaten. Scientists have concluded that they are the longest-living vertebrate as seen from the sharks studied whose age ranged between 272 – 512 years. They reach sexual maturity at well over 100 years of age!
During the summer, they may be found as deep down as 2,400 feet below the ocean’s surface, where it is cold enough for them to survive. In the winter, they swim closer to the surface and like to feed on reindeer and even polar bears that fall off the ice and into the water.
Greenland sharks are the world’s slowest sharks. They swim at just one to three miles per hour, probably because the water is so frigid that they can’t travel much faster. They are also nearly blind due to parasites that attach themselves to the shark’s eyes. Some scientists think that these parasites are bioluminescent and help attract prey for the blind-as-a-bat Greenland shark when it’s summering down in the deepest depths where light can’t penetrate.
2. Megamouth Shark (Megachasma pelagios)
This behemoth is a rare sight to be hold! Just around 100 have been sighted by humans. It was found after one was trapped in an anchor off the Hawaiian shore in 1976. Megamouth sharks are one of three filter-feeding sharks, which means they solely consume plankton. Despite having bathtub-sized jaws capable of swallowing a whole human, they are quite docile and incredibly rare.
Their lower jaw protrudes and their lips take in everything, while their gills filter the water they breath. The maximum size recorded of a megamouth caught and released off the coast of California was 7.62m.
3. Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus)
Basking sharks are the world’s second biggest fish. Adults can grow to be 6–8 m long, with mouths up to 1 metre wide. When filtering feed, they have small hooked teeth and gill rakers. These monsters, like the megamouth shark, only feed plankton and tiny invertebrates. Because of this they don’t have to hunt for prey. Instead, when they feed, they swim with their mouth open to catch anything in its way. Their gills will then filter out the water that was taken in.
Sadly, the basking shark has been overfished over the centuries and is now considered vulnerable to extinction.
4. Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)
Whale sharks are among the world’s biggest fish. They may grow to be as long as a bus, measuring up to 12 m in length. Their jaws may expand 1.5 m wide and include over 300 rows of teeth that they solely utilize to collect plankton. Despite their size, they are delicate creatures who devour only things a few centimeters long.
Whale sharks seize their prey by opening their mouths and moving them side to side as they swim. Plankton is sucked into their mouths and filtered through their gills. Their coloring is also out of the ordinary for sharks. The pattern on their backs varies and is akin to human fingerprints, with each whale shark having their own distinct pattern.
5. Goblin Shark (Mitsukurina owstoni)
Goblin sharks are frequently referred to as a “living fossil” since they are the sole remaining members of the mitsukurina family, which goes back 125 million years. They are one of the most unusual-looking sharks, with colors ranging from pink-grey to bubble gum pink. Some goblin sharks are transparent enough to glimpse their capillaries.
When their prey is just out of reach, their jaw may expand and extend to the end of their nose, allowing them to grab it. This rarely seen predator boasts jagged teeth and a protruding snout, known as a rostrum, which allows it to sense the electrical fields generated by the fish it feeds on. Goblin sharks have a mouth that can expand to a 111-degree angle.
6. Frilled Shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus)
Frilled sharks are serpent-like deep-sea sharks that are exceedingly uncommon. They may dwell at depths of up to 1500 meters below the surface and grow to be over 2 meters long. Their mouth is equipped with 25 rows of trident-shaped teeth that face backwards. A frilled shark can have around 300 teeth at any given moment. Frilled sharks may consume prey that is half their size.
Their name is derived from the frilled lining of their gills, which extend all the way across their throat. Females gestate for around three and a half years. This prehistoric monster has been trawling the deep for 80 million years, and the man who discovered it, 19th-century naturalist Samuel Garman, believed that the frilled shark is the source of long-standing sea serpent myths.
7. Ninja Lanternshark (Etmopterus benchleyi)
If the name of this deep-water shark appeals to you, it is because the shark was found in 2015 by design researcher Vicky Vásquez, who was inspired by a chat with her younger relatives. (At first, they recommended “Super Ninja Shark.”) And, according to its name, the Ninja Lanternshark is stealthy.
This little shark, with a black body, white eyes, and a softly luminous underside, mimics dim light moving through water in order to be undetectable to its prey. Even better, it was given the scientific name in honour of “JAWS” writer Peter Benchley.
8. Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis pristis)
The Largetooth Sawfish is one of the world’s biggest fish. It may grow to be beyond 6.5 m long. The most intriguing aspect of them is their saw-like rostrum, which serves a variety of tasks. It features electrosensitive pores, which allow sawfish to sense movement on the bottom. Their “saw” may also be used as a digging instrument to seek for crustaceans.
It may also be used to shock their prey by thrashing their “saw” from side to side, as well as to shield them from predators.
9. Dwarf Lantern Shark (Etmopterus perryi)
The dwarf lantern shark is fascinating for it also has light-emitting organs called photophores that light up to help it blend in with the sunlit water when it’s hunting for prey near the surface and to attract prey when it’s in deeper, darker waters, where it prefers to hide out most of the time.
When fully grown, it measures just 7 inches, making it small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Dwarf lantern sharks may be found in depths ranging from 928 to 1,440 feet. Perhaps this is why they are one of the most secretive shark species, having just been discovered in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Columbia in 1985.
10. Viper Dogfish (Trigonognathus kabeyai)
Viper dogfish are very unusual deep-sea organisms with photophores that allow them to glow on their bottom. You read that correctly. These sharks are members of the lanternshark family and use their own light to see in the deep ocean’s pitch-black waters. Their teeth are needle-like, and their extendible jaw enables them to seize and swallow animals half their size.
This small shark is said to spend its days in deep-ocean seamounts and climbs closer to the surface at night to hunt.
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