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Sharks & Rays

Sharks & Rays
Sharks can find prey by following the electrical impulses that animals emit, and some species of shark can smell a drop of blood in one million drops of seawater. Sharks have an unlimited supply of teeth that are set in layered rows in the gums. If one tooth falls out, a tooth from another layer takes its place. A shark may shed as many as 50,000 teeth in its lifetime. This is one reason why prehistoric shark teeth are the most commonly found fossils. There are at least 350 species of shark ranging from the smallest, the pygmy ribbontail catshark (8 to 10 inches long) to the largest, the whale shark (upto 45 feet long). Sharks are equipped with a special set of sensors, arranged in clusters over their heads, that can pick up electromagnetic currents emitted from other animals. Sharks have bad eyesight, but these sensors help detect prey from 1 to 3 yards away. Sharks can also detect the electromagnetic fields of the Earth and may use this ability to guide them during migration. Sharks are often thought of as cold-blooded killers that prey on humans. However, only 32 species have been known to attack humans, and most attacks are accidents. Often, sharks inhabit the same shallow, warm-water areas as humans. The shark may mistake a person standing or floating in water for natural prey. The shark goes in for the kill but, after one taste, usually gives up the attack. Many shark attacks involve people trying to free sharks from fishing nets. Sharks also are territorial animals and may attack if they feel threatened. The chances of being attacked by a shark are very small, and the chances of dying from a shark attack have greatly decreased over the years. In fact, in the United States, a person is 30 times more likely to be killed by lightning than by a shark. Dog bites are 1,000 times more common than shark bites.




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Goblin Shark (Mitsukurina owstoni)
The Japanese fishermen who caught the first specimen of Mitsukurina in the "Black Current" off Yokohama called it tenguzame, which means "goblin shark." This has become its common name, although very few people besides ichthyologists and shark-book authors ever get a chance to use it. The shark is extremely rare, found only in deep water off Japan, South Africa, perhaps off Portugal, and, in one strange instance, in the Indian Ocean, cable malfunction necessitated the raising of the cable, and an awl-like shark's tooth was found embedded in the wire covering. The cable had been at 750 fath...
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Mako Shark (Isurus oxyrinchus / glaucus)
Short-fin and long-fin makos are close cousins with the great white shark. They are very fast swimmers and can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Mako sharks can even leap out of the water. The mako is the quintessential shark. It is probably the most graceful of all sharks, the most beautifully proportioned, the fastest, the most strikingly colored, the most spectacular game fish, and one of the meanest-looking animals on earth.
Rate:  (3.9)
Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
The tiger shark is considered one of the most dangerous sharks. It is about 18 feet long and inhabits shallower water, often where people swim. The diet of tiger sharks varies widely and includes all types of sea life and even garbage. The tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier (Peron & LeSueur), is a large (up to 18ft) predator found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. Tiger sharks are one of three main shark species known to attack humans, and are responsible for most shark attacks in Hawaii. Less than one shark attack occurs per year on average in Hawaii (compared to an annual averag...
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Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
Best known from the movie Jaws, the great white is a large, heavy-bodied shark, about 20 feet long, with large bladelike teeth. Widely the most-feared of sharks, great white attacks are rare, and most scientists agree that its reputation is undeserved. Many scientists believe it is endangered due to sport fishing and shrinking food supplies.
Rate:  (4.6)
Manta Ray / Devil Ray / Eagle Ray (Manta birostris)
Order: Myliobatiformes, Family: Mobulidae
The manta ray is flat and wide, with fleshy enlarged pectoral fins that resemble wings. Rough and scaly, the manta has a short, whip-like tail, and gills on the underside of its body. Two cephalic lobes extend from the front of the manta ray's head. Broad and rectangular, its mouth contains small teeth exclusively in the lower jaw. The manta ray varies in color from black to gray-blue along its back. It has a white underside with gray blotches. Manta rays measure up to 29 feet long and 22 feet wide; they can weigh 3,00 pounds.
Rate:  (4.2)
Great Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran)
Order: Carcharhiniformes, Family: Sphyrnidae
Hammerheads are best known for their distinctive mallet-shaped heads and widely spaced eyes, which they swing back and forth while swimming to detect prey. They are the only species of shark known to travel in schools.
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Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas)
Order: Carcharhiniformes, Family: Carcharhinidae
The bull Shark inhabits coastal waters in tropical and subtropical seas worldwide. The bull shark can be recognized by its unique body shape, which is much wider in comparison to its length than other sharks, and its snout, which is wider than it is long. These features give the bull shark an almost stout appearance.
Rate:  (3.2)
Porbeagle Shark (Lamna nasus / ditropis)
The porbeagle is a member of the group known as the mackerel sharks--Isuridae or Lamnidae--probably the most notorious of all shark families. There are only three genera, Carcharodon, Lamna, and Isurus, but in these genera can be found three of the most well-known sharks ever to swim the seas: the mako, the great white, and the extinct Megalodon. All these sharks have enough in common to classify them as a single family: they share the same fusiform, tapered shape, and the same pointed snout. They all have laterally flattened caudal keels (although the porbeagle has a secondary caudal keel as ...
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Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas)
Order: Carcharhiniformes Family: Carcharhinidae
The bull shark gets its name from its snout, which is wider than it is long. It is possibly more dangerous to humans than the great white shark because it lives in shallow, murky water in areas where people swim. The real shark attacks on which the movie and book Jaws were based were done by a bull shark.
Rate:  (4.7)