It's Shark Week! Let’s learn about and celebrate these awesome creatures! Sharks are incredibly important to the ocean ecosystem, but are often depicted as monsters. However, they are not that much different from other types of fish. The world shark population is quickly declining (mostly due to pollution and poaching), which is potentially devastating to the health of our oceans. To help combat the negative press these big fish get, let's start by learning more about them.
Here are some amazing facts about sharks:
1. As apex predators (top of the food web) sharks keep the ocean life in balance and help maintain diverse life in coral reefs.
2. Spot patterns on the Whale shark are each as unique as a fingerprint. Whale sharks are the biggest fish in the ocean; they can grow to 40 feet and weigh as much as 40 tons!
3. Each species of shark has unique teeth. Mako sharks have very pointed teeth, while Great White sharks have triangular, serrated (knife-like) teeth. Each type of shark leaves unique bite marks on their prey. Sandbar sharks will have around 35,000 teeth over the course of their lifetime!
4. Different shark species reproduce in different ways. Some are oviparous (egg-laying) and others viviparous (live-bearing). Oviparous species lay eggs that develop and hatch outside the mother's body with no parental care after the eggs are laid. Viviparous species give birth to fully developed pups who stay with a family unit for a few years before going off on their own.
5. Sharks have eight senses: vision, touch, taste, hearing, smell, lateral line (pressure changes), pit organs (ultra quick reflexes), and Lorenzini (electro-reception). These three extra senses have been discovered over the past ten to twenty years, and play an important role in how the shark functions when swimming around. Find out more here.
SHARKS! Children's non-fiction books about sharks.
What do you think about sharks: scary monsters or awesome big fish? Drop a comment!