Sharks are neither the most approachable nor the most loved sea mammal, but they are definitely the greatest wonder of the sea, well, if we forego our love for whales just a little bit. Sharks are one of those predators so diverse that even the most common ones, such as the great whites, have never been completely understood. There are over 440 known species of sharks, and so far, none has been fully understood by scientists. These 10 are, however, the known wonders of the sea with interesting features and abilities you just don’t expect a shark to have.
The Megamouth Shark
As the name of this shark goes, it is one of the rarest species of sharks ever with a mouth measuring about 4ft long when fully opened. A 4ft mouth opens wide enough to swallow an adult human whole, but megamouths are not into eating large prey. They are filter feeders that stick to deep seas most of their lives living at 15000 feet.
They were only discovered in 1976, and only a few dozen of them have ever been seen. It is feared that deep-sea fishing may drive them into extinction because there are only a few of them left. Oh, and they have light-producing organs in their mouths that help them attract small sea animals to feed on.
The Pyjama Shark
This shark species is known for its stripped body and small size, measuring roughly 36 inches in length when mature. They majorly inhabit the coast of South Africa, where they live in rocky rifts and sea vegetation. Its stripped body serves as a camouflage feature since it mainly hunts its prey at night.
The unique trait about Pyjama sharks is that when they feel threatened, they roll themselves into a bowl of swats where they hide and protect their heads, a mechanism that helps them hide away from their predators. Surprisingly, what forms up their predators are other bigger sharks. This species is considered harmless and sometimes friendly to humans.
As the name goes, these guys roam the waters with saws like the villains in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, except they only use theirs to cut their prey. They are a pretty phenomenon to watch, larger that sawfish and a lot more beautiful. They also hunt and night and have therefore developed an internal sonar system that helps them detect the slightest movement in the water.
They cut through the seabed seeking the prey under the sand. A fully grown Sawshark measures nearly 2 meters in length with the saw reaching almost 1 meter. They are generally not a threat to human beings in the sea, but they commit massacres whenever they find a school of fish. They live in tropical waters in Florida, Bahamas, India, and East Africa.
The Big-eye Thresher Shark
This shark is famous for its big tail fin, which measures up to 50% of its body length. They inhabit different parts of the world, especially coastal waters. One of the most remarkable characteristics of this specimen is the way they hunt.
The shark uses its long tail fin to strike the prey throwing it off balance then eating it. It is one of those sharks that hits first and asks questions later, meaning while it won’t eat a human being diving near it, it won’t hesitate to strike you. It also has a binocular vision that allows it to track and aim perfectly. However, they are usually shy when humans are around and only show aggressive behaviour while around other big sea creatures.
The Frilled Shark
It is known to be one of the oldest sharks to have ever existed. Surprisingly, it is the only species believed not to have evolved and still bears the prehistoric physical characteristics of sharks. This species is also known not to have the standard features sharks are known for. It doesn’t have a large dorsal fin instead it has numerous fins on the sides and bottom of its body.
Its skin looks ragged and worn. Despite its small size, its mouth is incredibly fearsome; it has 25 rows of teeth totalling to 300, each facing backwards, which makes it impossible for prey to escape once it is inside the mouth. Since they are so rare and live deep in the sea, little is known about them. The species was only discovered in 2005.
The Goblin Shark
The appearance of this shark is quite distinctive, with an elongated snout on the upper part of the head and a protruding jaw containing large nail-like teeth that look just like a goblin. They are one of the rarest sharks since they live in depths of around 4000ft. Their bodies are flabby and their fins small, so they are not fast swimmers, but they are one of the best hunters in the sea.
They majorly inhabit the upper continental slopes, submarine canyons, and seamounts all over the world. Goblin shark hunts its prey near the seafloor. Their snout has sensory endings that help them to detect minute electric fields produced by nearby creatures. Because it tends to move slowly, the goblin shark is not an ambush feeder like other species. When it gets close to its prey, it uses its rapidly extending jaws to grab the prey.
The Greenland Shark
As the name of this shark suggests, it majorly inhabits the waters surrounding Greenland and other cold waters in the tropics. It’s the only prehistoric sub-arctic species of sharks in the world. This shark has an incredibly long lifespan and doesn’t reach sexual maturity until it is 150 years old. One of the oldest of this type of sharks to have ever been found by Scientists was a female estimated to be 400 years old.
These sharks are enormous and can grow up to 21 feet long and weigh over 2200 pounds. Fascinatingly, while other species are known to be fierce hunters, these sharks are scavengers. They are usually seen hanging around fishing boats in the hope of getting an easy meal. Due to their massive sizes, they are extremely slow swimmers and have a very slow metabolism; this explains why they have such a long lifespan.
The Wobbegong Shark
There are 12 different species of wobbegong sharks ranging between 2.5 and 9.5 feet long. They have one thing in common, though; they are all carpet sharks meaning they spend most of their time lying on the bottom of the sea. These sharks have a beard-like growth in the area around their mouth. They will camouflage and utilize the bold symmetrical markings around their bodies to hide in the sand on the sea bed.
Their shaggy beards are small weed-like whiskers surrounding their jaws that complement their camouflage and act as sonar systems for detecting movement and direction. By blending in, these sharks have an easy time catching their prey. Instead of striking, they simply open their mouths and suck up their prey with no difficulty. Oh, and they are not swimmers, No! They walk with their fins through the sand and even climb rocks.
The Pygmy Shark
So, not all sharks grow to several meters in length and swallow turtles and crayfish; some only grow up to 25cm in length. They are one of the greatest revolutionary wonders of the sea being so small yet hunting very deep water up to 9000 meters.
They are also part of a group of Sharks known as lantern sharks meaning they glow. According to research, their glow is actually a camouflage features in the deep sea. Turns out, if you are several thousand meters under the sea and releasing a blue glow, you look just like the blue light from the surface, and no one can attack you.
The Squantina Squantina (Angel Shark)
Don’t be shocked; this is not rocket science, just the recently labelled second-most endangered shark species in the world. It was once common in the Atlantic Ocean waters around the coasts of Britain, but deep-sea fishing has driven it to near extinction. It is a very strange shark featuring a white skate-shaped body with a white bottom, grey back, and a reddish glow near the head.
It sticks to the sea bottom and hunts by ambush feeding on small fish and crustaceans. It is not a threat to human beings; in fact, the opposite is true since the species gets easily tangled in fishing gear due to its wide body. The sharks can grow up to 2.4 meters in length, with their fins becoming perfect angles.