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Portal:Sharks

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Sharks are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. Modern sharks are classified within the clade Selachimorpha (or Selachii) and are the sister group to the rays. However, the term "shark" is also used to refer to extinct shark-like members of the subclass Elasmobranchii, such as hybodonts, that lie outside the modern group.

Modern sharks first diversified during the Jurassic period. Since then, sharks have diversified into over 500 species. They range in size from the small dwarf lanternshark (Etmopterus perryi), a deep sea species that is only 17 centimetres (6.7 in) in length, to the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the largest fish in the world, which reaches approximately 12 metres (40 ft) in length. Sharks are found in all seas and are common to depths up to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). They generally do not live in freshwater, although there are a few known exceptions, such as the bull shark and the river shark, which can be found in both seawater and freshwater. Sharks have a covering of dermal denticles that protects their skin from damage and parasites in addition to improving their fluid dynamics. They have numerous sets of replaceable teeth.

Several species are apex predators, which are organisms that are at the top of their food chain. Select examples include the tiger shark, blue shark, great white shark, mako shark, thresher shark, and hammerhead shark. (Full article...)

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Drawing of a kitefin shark from Oceanic Ichthyology, by G. Brown Goode and Tarleton H. Bean, published 1896
The kitefin shark or seal shark, Dalatias licha, is a species of dogfish shark in the family Dalatiidae, and the only species in its genus. It is found sporadically around the world, usually close to the sea floor at depths of 200–600 m (660–2,000 ft). This shark has a slender body with a very short, blunt snout, large eyes, and thick lips. Its teeth are highly differentiated between the upper and lower jaws, with the upper teeth small and narrow and the lower teeth large, triangular, and serrated. Its typical length is 1.0–1.4 m (2.5–4.0 ft).

With a sizable oil-filled liver to maintain neutral buoyancy, the kitefin shark is able to cruise slowly through the water while expending little energy. Armed with large teeth and a strong bite, it is a powerful, solitary predator that takes many different types of prey, ranging from bony fishes, sharks and rays, to cephalopods, crustaceans, polychaete worms, siphonophores, and possibly carrion. It also takes bites out of animals larger than itself, similar to its smaller relative, the cookiecutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis). This shark is ovoviviparous and gives birth to 10–14 young. The kitefin shark is fished commercially for its meat, skin, and liver oil, primarily by Portugal and Japan. A fishery targeting this species existed off the Azores from the 1970s to the 1990s, but collapsed due to overfishing and falling liver oil prices; the rapid depletion of the Azores stock is often cited as an example of the susceptibility of deep-sea sharks to human exploitation. The World Conservation Union does not yet have sufficient data to assess the global conservation status of this species.

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Isurus oxyrinchus Machoire.jpg
Credit: Didier Descouens
The jaw of a shortfin mako shark. The species feeds mainly upon cephalopods, bony fishes including mackerel, tuna, bonito, and swordfish, but it may also eat other sharks, porpoises, sea turtles, and seabirds.

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Topics


Carcharhiniformes (groundsharks) · Cladoselachiformes (extinct) · Eugeneodontida (extinct) · Heterodontiformes (bullhead sharks) · Hexanchiformes (most primitive sharks) · Hybodontiformes (extinct) · Iniopterygia (extinct) · Lamniformes (mackerel sharks) · Orectolobiformes (carpet sharks and relatives) · Pristiophoriformes (sawsharks and relatives) · Squaliformes (gulper sharks, bramble sharks, lantern sharks, rough sharks, sleeper sharks, dogfish sharks and relatives) · Squatiniformes (angel sharks) · Symmoriida (extinct) · Xenacanthida (also known as Xenacantiformes, extinct)



Shark biology


Shark-human interaction

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