Living The biggest shark is the whale shark (Rhincodon or
Rhiniodon typus), which can be up to 50 feet (15 m) long. It is a filter
feeder and sieves enormous amounts of plankton to eat through its gills as it
swims. It is also the biggest fish. The second biggest fish and shark is the
basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) which is about 40 feet (12.3 m) long
and is another filter feeder.
- The biggest meat-eating shark is the
Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) which grows to be up to 21
feet (6.4 m) long. Great whites up to 37 feet (11.3 m) long have been reported,
but not verified.
Extinct The largest shark known was the Megalodon
(Carcharodon or Carcharocles megalodon); it is now extinct. It
was an ancient, meat-eating shark that lived between 25 million and 1.6 million
years ago. It was up to 40 feet (12 m) long and its teeth were each the size of
a person's hand!
- Smallest The smallest sharks are: Dwarf
Lanternfish (Etmopterus perryi), which is about 7 1/2 to 8 inches (19 -
20 cm) long for fully-grown females and 6 to 7 inches (16 - 17.5 cm) long for
Spined pygmy shark (Squaliolus laticaudus), which is
about 8 inches (21 cm) long for fully-grown females and 7 inches (18 cm) long
Pygmy ribbontail catshark (Eridacnis radcliffei) , which
is about 6 to 7 inches (15 - 16 cm) long for fully-grown females and 7 to 7 1/2
inches (18 - 19 cm) long for males.
Dangerous The oceanic white-tipped sharks are the most fearless
predators. Jacques-Yves Cousteau says that it is: "the only species of shark
that is never frightened by the approach of a diver, and they are the most
dangerous of all sharks."
- Fastest The fastest swimming sharks are the
mako sharks and blue sharks, which can even leap out of the water. They are
also probably the fastest fish. Estimates of their speed varies; some say that
they can swim at about 60 miles per hour (97 kph), while more conservative
estimates are about 22 mph (35 kph). There hasn't been enough observation of
their speeds to have an definitive answer.
Mouth The whale shark has the biggest mouth among sharks.
- LONGEST TAIL The thresher sharks have the
longest tail among sharks; the upper lobe of their tails are about the same
length as their bodies.
Bite The strongest shark bite belongs to the dusky shark
(Carcharhinus obscurus); its jaws have been measured to exert 132 pounds of
Common The piked dogfish shark (Squalus acanthias) is
very abundant, especially in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a small shark,
about 63 inches (1.6 m) long.
Eggs The whale shark was long thought to be oviparous (an egg 14
inches (36 cm) long was found in the Gulf of Mexico in 1953; this would be the
largest egg in the world). Recently, pregnant females have been found
containing hundreds of pups. Whale sharks are viviparous, giving birth to live
young. Newborns are over 2 feet (60 cm) long.
Diver The Portuguese shark dives down over 9,000 feet (2750 m).
This is over 1.5 miles.
Migration The Blue shark had been known to migrate from
1,200-1,700 miles (2000-3000 km) in a seasonal journey from New York state in
the USA to Brazil.
Litter One Blue shark was found with 135 pups in her