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Interested in shark facts? Did you know sharks are the ocean's top predator, and the health of the ocean depends on healthy shark populations?
There are more than 1,100 species of sharks and rays around the world. From South Africa to Mexico, local governments, industries, and responsible shark tour operations are taking a stand to help stop the destruction of the species.
Prefer to watch and learn?Prefer to watch and learn? Here is a terrific 10 min video on the many species of sharks from Sporeking5.
RELATED STORIES: TAKE A BITE OUT OF NATIONAL SHARK AWARENESS WEEK.Did You Know?
Sharks, skates, and rays are collectively termed Elasmobranchs, which are a subclass of Chondrichthyes, or the cartilaginous fishes.
The largest shark is the Whale shark which can reach up to 40 feet in length.
50 shark species are listed as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered by the IUCN, but only the Great White, Whale, and Basking sharks are protected internationally by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
They have a skeleton made entirely of cartilage rather than bone as in other fish. In general, this group is slow growing, late maturing, and produce few young compared to other fish.
Hammerhead Shark Facts:
Hammerhead Sharks are recognized for their oddly shaped heads. The hammer-like shape serves a purpose and allows for the sharks to locate and catch their prey.
With electro sensors in their heads, they can pick up electric pulses from other living creatures nearby. Their wide-set eyes allow them to see more, and their unique sensors act as a sort of "metal detector" allowing them to find prey buried in the sand.
There are 9 species of hammerhead shark, each with a uniquely shaped "hammer".
Click here for more Hammerhead Shark Facts.Great White Shark Facts:
Great White Sharks are found on the coast of each continent in the world, except Antarctica. The most concentrated population of Great White Sharks is found in "Shark Alley" in South Africa.
Great White Sharks do not need to feed often. Once they have fed, they can often go up to 3 months without needing to feed again.
While humans have 5 senses, Great White Sharks have 6 which include sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing and electroreception. Electroreception allows them to locate their prey by detecting their electric pulses.
Click here to read more Great White Shark Facts.
Tiger Shark Facts:
Tiger Sharks are located from the east coast of North America, south to the east coast of Brazil. They may also be found in China, India, Japan, Africa and the Pacific islands.
The characteristics that Tiger Sharks have are dark, verticle stripes down their sides. The stripes are more prominent when they are young, and slowly fade with age.
Tiger Sharks are scavengers and will feed on almost anything. They have serrated teeth which help to crack open clam shells and turtle shells. They are the second most dangerous shark to humans.