Endangered shark species

There are many impressive species of shark. The movies Jaws played a great part in making the Great White shark popular. But nevertheless, there are more than 400 other shark species that have been discovered by humans to date.

Sadly, not being as popular as the Great white does not offer any of the lesser known species any protection. Many of them are now in danger of extinction. Research has shown that about 100 million sharks are killed every year by individuals for recreational and commercial fishing.

Angel Shark (Squatina squatina) – seriously endangered

The angel shark was at one point quite abundant all around the coasts of Western Europe according to information from the 19th and early 20th century.

With its population largely depleted across most of its range, the angel shark is now perceived to be extinct in the North sea, most of the Northern Mediterranean and very rare in other places

Daggernose shark (Isogomphodon oxyrhynchus) – seriously endangered

The Daggernose shark is not freshwater tolerant. It lives in the low tropical waters off North-Eastern South America from Trinidad to Northern Brazil. It is found mainly in muddy habitats like estuaries, mangroves, and river mouths. This species of sharks have been classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This is due to its low level of distribution. And also its low rate of reproduction, it is highly vulnerable to overfishing.

Zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum or varium) – vulnerable

The only member of the family Stegostomatidae, the Zebra shark is a type of carpet shark. It is found usually around coral reefs and sandy flats in the tropical Indo-Pacific Sea. It has been accessed by the World Conservative Union as vulnerable worldwide. This is because it is subject to commercial fishing for its meat, liver oil and fins. There are reports which indicate a rapid decline in its worldwide population.

Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) – vulnerable

It is known as the great white, white shark, white pointer or white death. Growing to up to 6m (20 ft.) in length and 2,268 kg (5,000 Ib) in weight, the great white can be found in coastal oceans all around the world. Although no accurate population numbers are available, the great white has also suffered a sharp decline in population and are now considered vulnerable species too.

Dumb Gulper Shark (Centrophorus harrissoni) – seriously endangered

Also known as dumb shark, Harrison’s dogfish or Harrison’s deep-sea dogfish. The dumb shark is a rare species in danger of extinction. It is usually found only along the east coast of Australia and some secluded areas North and West of New Zealand.

World’s Most Infested Shark beaches

What makes an ideal vacation? The strong ocean waves, the cool summer breeze, and the perfect warm sand found on a beach would come to mind. But, you have to be careful. Not all beaches are as perfect as they seem.

Some may just have sharks lurking around in their waters that can turn your ideal vacation into your worst nightmare! Nobody wants to swim in shark infested waters and thankfully we have gathered a list of the beaches with high shark infestation.

The following are some of the most infested shark beaches in the world, they include;

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

This beach is also recognized as the major shark capital worldwide. The sharks in Florida are recognized to attack humans, so whenever you are surfing its Atlantic waters, be very careful. The owner of window washing Fort McMurray nearly had a run in with a pack of sharks while swimming in the crystal blue water just off the shore. Sharks commonly found in this beach include tiger sharks, spinner, and blacktip sharks.

Gansbaai, South Africa (also known as Shark Alley)

This beach is well-recognized as the great white shark capitol worldwide. These sharks are large predators known for their very sharp teeth, enormous mouths and powerful eyes, making them quite scary and entertaining.

Gansbaai is now more of a tourist spot with its great whites as its main attraction. For those that are brave and looking for adventure while on a tour to this beach, there are boats that show divers being placed underwater in a cage and utilizing a dangle to attract the great white sharks to the cages.

For those that are less adventurous, you can sit back and just observe the sharks dine on seals. This beach is not an advisable location for a swim at any time of the day or night.

Lake Nicaragua, Nicaragua

This is the biggest lake in Central America. It is not a very safe place to swim. Furthermore, this freshwater lake is highly infested with bull sharks, making it a more dangerous place. It was previously believed that these sharks were stuck in the freshwater lake, but further research later showed that these sharks actually possessed the ability to jump to the San Juan River. Even though there are not many reports of deaths caused by shark attack in this lake, just the thought of its presence in the waters will keep you away.

Reunion Island

Known to have recorded one of the highest numbers of shark attacks in the world, the Reunion Island is isolated. Since 1980, this island has recorded more than 24 confirmed shark attacks.

You are certain to have a dreadful encounter with sharks if you stay close to the coasts of this island. The kind of sharks located in the waters of the Reunion Island is the most aggressive type (tiger and bull sharks).

West End, Grand Bahamas

Home to numerous species of sharks like tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerheads and black tips. Although the area is quite recognized for its brutal shark attacks, there have been no reported or recorded deaths from these shark attacks.

Species of sharks

There is a wide variety of shark species located in oceans worldwide. They come in diverse sizes, some quite small while others really large. Some are very calm and do not bother anyone while some are to be scared of. Funny enough, some of the largest species of sharks are also the nicest to encounter.

The list below will provide you with some information on the species of sharks. Some of the most famous type of sharks include;

Angel Sharks

Commonly mistaken for large stingrays, these kinds of sharks are quite strange. They are also often mistaken for other types of sea animals. One simple way of differentiating between a stingray and an angel shark is by looking at its fins. The angel shark does not have fins on its head.

Hammerhead Sharks

This is another unusual type of shark. The Hammerhead shark has a long head that actually looks similar to the end of a hammer at both sides. They hunt for prey quite aggressively and possess an enhanced sense of smell.

Reef Sharks

These types of shark are highly adaptive to their environment, even in captivity. Reef sharks are regarded as loners and they hardly network with other sharks except for breeding.

They possess very conspicuous features and can grow to about six feet in length. Although reef sharks are gray on top with the tips of their fins black in color, they are all white or have streaks of white underneath.

Blue Sharks

One of the most feared and dangerous species of sharks in the world is the blue shark. The blue shark has been known for its attack on humans. It is one of the fastest swimming species of sharks in existence.

Blue sharks are not usually small. With a growth of up to 12 ft. in length, it is hard for any prey to escape from this shark because of its speed and strength.

Great White Shark

Most likely the most popular species of sharks in the world, the great white is also perceived to be the most dangerous species of sharks in the world. The great white sharks are among the few uncommon species of sharks that can raise their heads above water.

These massive predators can grow up to 16 ft. and around 1500 – 2400 pounds in weight. Some have been observed to weigh up to 4000 pounds but this is not frequent.

Interesting facts about sharks

Sharks have been in existence on earth for millions of years, even before dinosaurs. Possibly the most significant extinct ancestor of modern-day shark was the megalodon. It was about 20 meters long and weighed up to 48 tons.

Out of the over 500 species of sharks, only 3 are responsible for a majority of the reported human attacks. These three are the bull shark, great white shark, and the tiger shark. But such attacks are also quite occasional. In fact, for each human a shark kills, there are two million sharks killed by humans worldwide. This has led to a massive reduction in the world’s population of sharks putting them on the brink of extinction. More so, there is 75% probability of humans to be killed more by lightening than sharks.

Sharks never stop growing teeth. They get up to 30,000 teeth during their lifetime. Shark teeth grow from the back and move forward when required, thus for every tooth that is broken in front, there is a row behind to replace it at all times.

There are a few species of sharks that possess the ability to move into freshwater and not stay restricted to saltwater systems only. In places like South Africa, the Bahamas, and Australia, bull sharks move up and down rivers. This movement consumes a lot of their energy but also gives them a new batch of prey too. Meanwhile, around the coral reefs in Australia and New Guinea lives the epaulette shark. This shark has the capacity to climb out of water in low tide and ‘walk’ between pools to hunt for prey that has been stranded.

Talking about size, this great predator can grow up to an astounding 6.1 in length and weigh more than 2000 kg. The females typically grow larger than the males.

Sharks have great eyesight. They see in color and have the ability to see clearly whether it’s day or night. Sharks, although, do not have eyelids so they have to roll their eyes to the back of their heads to protect them.

While humans have only five senses, the great white shark possesses six. This sixth sense is used to detect a natural stimulus and notify the sharks of the objects around them. Sharks are able to find prey easily because this special sense allows them to detect signals of the electric field transmitted by all animals.

In addition, the great white sharks have the most potent sense of smell of all sharks and can perceive the littlest drop of blood in a million parts water. They are also quite specific about what they will or will not eat than other sharks. This is due to the taste buds located in their throat and mouth.

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Brief Shark History

For close to 450 million years now, sharks have been swimming in the oceans. But sharks are not only known for their prolonged existence. They are also known as the perfect predators. They have, over the many years of evolution, developed many astonishing abilities.

Life is said to have come into being on earth about 3.8 billion years ago. Life started on earth as bacteria and did not develop beyond the one-celled stage until about 580 million years ago. The very first fish surfaced about 510 million years ago. These fishes were called ‘Ostracoderms’. They were jawless fishes with armour. After these fishes then came the sharks. Although there is a little disagreement between paleontologists as to when exactly they came into being, whether 455 0r 425 million years ago.

A lot of people assume that dinosaurs dominated the ancient world. This isn’t quite accurate because dinosaurs did not surface until around 230 million years ago. Around the same time that mammals came into being. Although modern humans only date back roughly 60,000 years ago, the first animal that was human-like, also known as a hominid, dates as far back as about 4.5 million years ago. More so, documented civilization has lasted just about 5,000 years. All these indicate that sharks have existed almost 100 times longer than the first human-like animals and about 3 times longer than dinosaurs (or say twice as long as dinosaurs in birds are included).

The oldest shark fossils

The oldest fossilized proof of ancient sharks come from shark-like scales that date back to the Ordovician period (about 455 million years ago). Although some paleontologists argue that these scales are not sufficient enough to be called shark-like scales, there is no argument that the scales found dating back to the Silurian Period (about 420 million years ago) are from sharks. The shark scales from this period were found in Mongolia and Siberia. The most far dated shark teeth are from the Devonian Period, around 400 million years ago, and they were found in Europe. Other than these scales and teeth, nothing else has been found to tell us more about those early sharks.

A complete shark fossil found remain dated to around 380 million years old. This includes a fossilized shark braincase found in Australia, most likely a Xenacanth. Remains of this species or similar species have also been found in Saudi Arabia and Antarctica.

Sharks have survived all five mass extinctions

There are numerous proofs, throughout history, of disastrous events that considerably changed the environment, resulting in the mass extinction of a large percentage of species. In the most brutal of such events, about 251 million years ago, as much as 95% of species on earth were wiped out, possibly due to either volcanic activity or a comet impact. Over the past 439 million years, five major mass extinction events have taken place.

For species that survived, this destruction presented an opportunity to thrive and prosper if previous predators were killed or new, uninhabited territories opened up. These, therefore, have often given rise to ‘adaptive radiations’ or a significant rise in new diverse species. Sharks, due to their adaptable design, have survived all of these five mass extinctions. They have also gained from some adaptive radiations resulting in the appearance of many new interesting sharks.