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The sharks portal

Welcome to the shark portal!
Welcome to the shark portal!

Sharks (superorder Selachimorpha) are a group of fish species with a full cartilaginous skeleton. There are over 400 extant species of shark, as well as numerous extinct species known from recovered teeth and bones. Due partially to fear of shark attack, sharks often feature heavily in popular culture.

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A captive great hammerhead at the Georgia Aquarium
The great hammerhead, Sphyrna mokarran, is the largest of the hammerhead sharks (family Sphyrnidae), attaining a maximum length of 6.1 m (20 ft). It is found in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide, inhabiting coastal areas and the continental shelf. The great hammerhead can be distinguished from other hammerheads by the shape of its "hammer" (called the "cephalofoil"), which is wide with an almost straight front margin, and by its tall, sickle-shaped first dorsal fin. A solitary, strong-swimming apex predator, the great hammerhead feeds on a wide variety of prey ranging from crustaceans and cephalopods, to bony fishes, to smaller sharks. Observations of this species in the wild suggest that the cephalofoil functions to immobilize stingrays, a favored prey. This species has a viviparous mode of reproduction, bearing litters of up to 55 pups every two years.

Although potentially dangerous, the great hammerhead rarely attacks humans. It sometimes behaves inquisitively toward divers and should be treated with respect. This shark is heavily fished for its large fins, which are extremely valuable on the Asian market as the main ingredient of shark fin soup. As a result, great hammerhead populations are declining substantially worldwide, and it has been assessed as Endangered by the World Conservation Union.


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Carcharhinus melanopterus Luc Viatour.jpg
Credit: Luc Viatour
The blacktip reef shark is a species of requiem shark, family Carcharhinidae, easily identified by the prominent black tips on its fins. It is among the most abundant sharks inhabiting the tropical coral reefs of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and prefers shallow, inshore waters.

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Shark · Outline of sharks

Shark orders
Carcharhiniformes (groundsharks) · Cladoselachiformes (extinct) · Eugeneodontida (extinct) · Heterodontiformes (bullhead sharks) · Hexanchiformes (most primitive sharks) · Hybodontiformes (extinct) · Iniopterygia (extinct) · Lamniformes (mackerel sharks) · Orectolobiformes (carpet sharks and relatives) · Pristiophoriformes (sawsharks and relatives) · Squaliformes (gulper sharks, bramble sharks, lantern sharks, rough sharks, sleeper sharks, dogfish sharks and relatives) · Squatiniformes (angel sharks) · Symmoriida (extinct) · Xenacanthida (also known as Xenacantiformes, extinct)

Major species
Basking shark · Blue shark · Bull shark · Great hammerhead · Great white shark · Grey reef shark · Hammerhead shark · Megalodon · Megamouth shark · Nurse shark · Oceanic whitetip shark · Requiem shark · Scalloped hammerhead · Shortfin mako shark · Swellshark · Thresher shark · Tiger shark · Whale shark

Shark biology
Ampullae of Lorenzini · Mermaid's purses · Physical characteristics of sharks · Shark teeth · Shark threat display

Shark-human interaction
Attack (drum lines, International Shark Attack File, Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916, list of fatal, unprovoked shark attacks in the United States, shark net, shark proof cage, shark suit, Summer of the Shark· Captivity (shark tunnel· Conservation (grey nurse shark conservation, Shark Alliance, Shark Conservation Act, Shark Trust· Fishing (International Land-Based Shark Fishing Association, land-based shark fishing· Products (shark cartilage, shark finning, shark fin soup, shark liver oil)

Sharks in culture
Sharks in popular culture · The Gulf Stream (painting) · The Headington Shark · "Helicopter Shark· Jabberjaw · Jaws (film) (Jaws (novel), Jaws (film series)· Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror · The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living · Shark Tale · Sharky & George · Sherman's Lagoon · Street Sharks · Watson and the Shark

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Portal:Marine life
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