Rays are the other star-power cartilaginous fishes, outnumbering sharks in species and matching them in variety of lifestyles. Stingrays lurk on the seafloor, Eagle Rays soar above the reef, Manta Rays cruise the oceans. Did I mention Star Power? WITH FLATTENED BODIES, RAYS HAVE TAKEN THE PECTORAL FIN/HYDRODYNAMIC LIFT CONCEPT so far as to develop their pectoral fins into broad “wings.” Eagle and manta rays’ wings let them soar through the open waters like…well, eagles…flapping andRead more
Category: Shark & Ray Basics
Meet the “Walking Sharks:” They Amble on Land, Too.
Walking sharks are only a small piece of our planet’s shark universe, but they’re remarkable for their ability to propel themselves along the seafloor using bodies and fins. And, actually, on land – literally fishes out of water. New walking shark research by an international team of scientists has found that, in terms of evolution, they are the most recent group of sharks to arrive on the scene. DESPITE A COMMON MISCONCEPTION, only a small numberRead more
Hunting Shark Teeth: After the Feeding Frenzy, the Shark Tooth Frenzy
SHARKS ARE KIND OF NOTORIOUS FOR HAVING TEETH – it is, after, all the principal reason we fear them. But they’re also famous for losing them. And some of us diving human beings are famous for hunting shark teeth. In fact, sharks drop teeth continuously. Inside their powerful jaws, they have multiple rows of choppers. When one falls out, one behind it moves forward to take its place, as if on a conveyor belt. OverRead more
Some Sharks Have to Swim to Survive, But Most Don’t
DO SHARKS HAVE TO SWIM CONSTANTLY IN ORDER TO BREATHE? The answer is yes – for the relatively small number of shark species that excite us the most, like great whites and hammerheads. But it’s not the case with most of the 400-plus species of sharks in the oceans, like the familiar nurse shark and lesser-known species like bullhead, angel and carpet sharks. WATER, OXYGEN & GILLS Like all fish, sharks breathe by extracting oxygenRead more
How Sharks Smell Blood – Superbly, But Not Miles Away
HOW SHARKS SMELL BLOOD IS FAR MORE INTERESTING than their mythical ability to detect the scent of “a drop of blood miles away.” Scientists disproved that legend long ago, although you may still find it in cheesy movies and on shark-week type reality shows. Sharks do have an amazing sense of smell, but their long-range detection capabilities are limited to several hundred yards rather than miles, many authoritative sources suggest. And one study suggests thatRead more
Grass-Eating Sharks. Really.
SHARKS’ REPUTATION AS FIERCE, MAN-EATING APEX PREDATORS of the oceans takes a hit when you consider the bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo), a small variety of hammerhead found mostly in warm waters along the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines of North and South America. Along with their normal carnivorous diet, bonnetheads eat grass, as in seagrass. How much grass? It accounts for as much as 62 percent of its gut content in some juvenile populations. The bonnetheads’Read more