Types Of Sharks - Your Online Source for Information on Sharks
All About the Different Types of Sharks
There are almost five hundred different types of sharks in the world and new ones are being discovered every year. Much is still not known about these large sea-dwelling creatures. All of these types of sharks fall into one of eight scientific orders. These are Squatiniformes (angel sharks), Pristiophoriformes (saw sharks), Squaliformes (dogfish sharks), Carcharinformes (ground sharks), Lamniformes (mackerel sharks), Orectolobiformes (carpet sharks), Heterodontiformes (bullhead sharks), and Hexanchieformes (frilled and cow sharks.)
Angel sharks don’t look at all like other sharks. They look more like rays or skates, with huge, spread-out (pectoral) fins on their sides resembling angel wings. They are ocean bottom dwellers who cover themselves with sand to surprise their prey. They are a warm and tropical water fish that reaches five to eight feet in length. They feed on crustaceans, shellfish and flounder. There are fifteen different species of angel sharks.
Saw sharks are known to have five different species that live in waters off Eastern Asia, South Africa and Australia. They have a long snout with sharp teeth on each end and they use their mouths like a saw to kill their food. It is actually a very violent method which saws, cuts, impales or slashes the prey. They are not bottom dwellers like sawfishes but live in the mid-waters of the ocean. Saw sharks are around three feet long and eat crustaceans and smaller fish. They are not dangerous but will bite if you surprise one.
Among the 100+ species of the dogfish shark is the Spiny Dogfish Shark, which is the most populous and well-known of all the sharks. These fish are harvested and sold for food in many parts of the world, including Europe. The family of dogfish sharks, however, has many different kinds of sharks from small to large. The world’s smallest living shark, the Dwarf Lanternshark is in this category. Males settle in as adults at six inches while the females are a little larger at 7.5 inches. The Greenland Shark is the largest of the dogfish sharks at around twenty-four feet. Its meat is poisonous to humans.
Ground sharks have the most species of any of the sharks, numbering over two hundred. This order includes catsharks, requiem sharks and hammerheads among many others. Hammerheads live in coastal waters and are most recognizable because they have a flat head that looks like a hammer. Hammerheads can range in size from five to seventeen feet. They are aggressive eaters, feeding on all bony fishes, batoids, octopuses, other sharks, shrimps, crabs and other crustaceans. There are many catfish sharks that range in length from under three to five feet. These sharks travel in same-sex groups of thousands.
The remaining four orders of sharks are mackerel, carpet, bullhead, frilled and cowsharks. The most famous is a mackerel shark known as the Great White Shark, made popular by the movie JAWS. These huge types of sharks can be over twenty feet in length and weigh as much as five thousand pounds. Because they are at the top of their food chain, they have no natural predators. They eat just about anything, including other sharks, whales, dolphins, bony fish, squid, and they seem to have a preference for sea lions and seals. Opposite from what the movie would have you believe, humans are not a common or even favorite food.