The world of sharks

Photo © Shutterstock

Photo © Shutterstock

Photo © Shutterstock

... but only about 64 shark accidents occur ...

... but only about 64 shark accidents occur ...

... but only about 64 shark accidents occur ...

Photo © Shutterstock

Photo © Shutterstock

Photo © Shutterstock

Our oceans need sharks

Photo © Paul Hilton

Photo © Paul Hilton

Photo © Paul Hilton

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The Biology of sharks

Sharks are a separate class of vertebrates, the so-called cartilaginous fish. They differ in many characteristics from the class of bony fish such as salmon, trout or tuna. Their lines of development separated over 440 million years ago.

Since sharks are hunters and top hunters, they reproduce very slowly. Nevertheless they are hunted like bony fish, which reproduce much faster.

Habitats

Sharks can be found almost everywhere. They populate the high and deep sea, but most sharks live on the continental shelves. Some species even live in fresh water.

Evolution

Sharks have adapted perfectly to life in the water over 400 million years. To date, over 500 different recent shark species have been described.

Features

Shark is not just shark. They have different forms, especially in the deep sea and in bottom-dwelling species. But they all have gill slits.

Anatomy

Anatomically there are differences between sharks and bony fish. Sharks have, for example, a light, elastic cartilage skeleton, a large liver for buoyancy and a spiral gut.

Senses

Sharks are masters of the senses. They see better in the dark than cats, they can feel the finest differences in pressure, they have an excellent sense of smell and a seventh sense for electric fields.

Reproduction

Some 30 % of sharks lay eggs. But 70 % give birth to live young. Sharks become sexually mature very late and bear few young. This makes them vulnerable to overfishing.

Support the Shark Foundation in its work to protect sharks.

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