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Category: Pets and Animals

Subclass Elasmobranchii AKA Sharks, Skates, and Rays

I love fish!

I love aquatic animals of all sort! Vertebrate or invertebrate, I adore them and I'm gonna ramble about some of the ones I love over multiple blog posts because this is getting really long. Even though I'm grouping them by (in this case) Elasmobranchii subclass that doesn't mean I'm gonna include all animals.

I'm not the best at remembering specific facts so I have been doing some research for this for people who don't want to read the wiki links for each animal lol.

Warning! For anyone who is sensitive to images of animal death, please be careful if you do your own research, especially for deep sea animals! It's a lot more common that we only see them when they are fished up, or are weak/sick/dying and unable to stay at the depth they live at. I won't be including any images of dead animals in this blog though so don't worry!

Here's some recommended background music for while you scroll [youtube link]

Sharks, Skates, and Rays

AKA subclass Elasmobranchii
3D shark swimming in place

Frilled shark!

Full body photo of a frilled shark, which has an eel like body

Photo by Kelvin Aitken [link]

[Wikipedia link]

It's usually hard for me to pick favorites, but I did base a bunch of usernames off of the frilled shark. Back when I was first learning about a lot of sea creatures I was really fascinated with deep sea sharks and the frilled shark was one of the first.

I love how they look. I feel like compared to other sharks they have such a unique body shape. They have rows of teeth that make their million dollar smile! Most of all I love how their gills look. The covers are frilled like (hence the name) and the peek of bright red gills underneath are so bright in comparison to their grey body.

Quick facts!

  • Can be 2m/6.6ft long.
  • Their gestation period is estimated to be up to 3.5 years.
  • They eat cephalopods, other smaller sharks, bony fish, and nudibranchs.
  • Because of their large and flexible mouths they can eat prey more than half their size.
I love them, they make my brain spark with excitement, I don't know how else to explain it!


An ornate wobbegong laying on the sea floor
Ornate Wobbegong. Photo by Andy Murch [link]

The term Wobbegong originates from the Dharug language, and refers to a family of sharks (called Orectolobidae) containing 12 members. They're beautiful sharks with wonderful camouflaging patterns and small sensory barbs around their mouths which can look like beards or mustaches. They're ambush predators, and use their flat body shape and patterns to camouflage with the floor waiting for food to come by.

Quick facts!
  • Most species have a maximum length of around 1.25m/4.1ft, but the spotted Wobbegong and the banded Wobbegong can reach 3m/9.8ft.
  • They're nocturnal.
  • Generally found in shallow temperate and tropical waters of the western Pacific ocean and east Indian ocean, except for the Japanese Wobbegong.
I'm a big fan of any animal with sensory barbs, especially with a lot of them! I love how they can look like plants or coral, especially the smaller ones like the tassled Wobbegong pictured below.
Tassled wobbegong laying on coral
Photo by David Salvatori [link]

Angel shark

Clouded angelshark with many spots and a flat diamond shaped body
Clouded angelshark. Photo by Andy Murch [link]

Angelsharks refer to the genus Squatina. They're unique from other sharks due to their flattened body shape which resembles a ray. Like the Wobbegong, angelsharks are bottom dwelling ambush predators, which can bury themselves in the sand or mud and wait for prey to swim by. They eat fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and cephalopods. They're more active at night and swim along the sea floor in search of food.

Quick facts!
  • Generally found in shallower waters off coasts.
  • Instead of pumping water out of the oropharyngeal cavity like other benthic fish, they use gill flaps that are under their body. It's thought that this helps them hide better.
  • Can grow up to 2.1m/7ft.
  • They can have litters of up to 13 pups at a time, and go to deeper water to give birth.
It's a shark! Its' pectoral fins make it look like a ray! How cool! Also the name angel shark is so sweet 10/10.

Greenland shark

Greenland shark with speckled grey and white skinPhoto by Andy Murch [link]

[Wikipedia link] <- I'm a frequent visitor

Greenland sharks are poorly studied because of the depth and remoteness of the habitat they live in. They tend to occupy deep, cold waters and have been found at a depth of 2,200m/7,200ft by a submersible. They're extremely slow and have the slowest swim speed and tail beat frequency for its size across all fish species, however this could correlate with their slow metabolism and extremely long life span. They're estimated to live between 250 and 500 years, the longest know life span of all vertebrate species. This slow metabolism also effects their gestation periods which has been estimated to be between 8 and 18 years.
Greenland sharks eat primarily fish, however research has found them to also eat smaller sharks, skates, eels, cod, lumpfish, flounder, redfish, squid, and even seal. Its' theorized that due to their extremely slow swim speed they hunt marine mammals that are either asleep, injured, or sick. Sharks have also been found to have moose and reindeer remains in their stomach, and in one case the entire body of a reindeer.

Quick facts!
  • They're massive! Can grow up to 7m/23ft long and weigh up to 1,400kg/30,90lb.
  • They are usually found with a parasite attached to their eyes, which can cause complete blindness. This isn't a problem as the sharks rely on smell and hearing to hunt more than sight.
  • One tagged shark was recorded to grow at a rate of 0.5-1cm/1412in a year.
  • Scientists have used a process called radiocarbon dating of the crystals within the lenses of their eyes to estimate age.
They're large, slow, old, and full of urea. I love them. The kind of animal that makes my brain spark with excitement about the different ways things live. The fact that anything could live to be over 300 years old, let alone a vertebrate is so so incredible and amazing!

Pacific sleeper shark

Flash image of a pacific sleeper shark in green water
Frontal image of pacific sleeper shark with its mouth open
Photos by Andy Murch [link] (two images because look at that goober)

Pacific sleeper sharks are another large deep sea shark, known to grow to 4.4m/14ft but estimated to be able to grow over 7m/23ft long. They're able to swim with minimal body movement and noise which makes them excellent stealth predators. Their diets have only been studied in Alaska, and have found most sharks had eaten giant Pacific octopus. They've been known to eat bottom dwelling fish, soles, flounders, shrimps, hermit crabs, and marine snails. Their diets seem to broaden as they get bigger, with larger sharks also consuming squids, Pacific salmon, harbor porpoises, and even giant squid. Sleeper sharks are known to be preyed on by killer whales, and the same parasitic copepod as Greenland sharks.

Quick facts!
  • Very little is known about Pacific sleeper sharks, and especially about their reproductive habits.
  • In 1989 a shark was filmed after being attracted to bait outside of Tokyo Bay, Japan. This shark was estimated to be about 7m/23ft long.
There isn't a lot of information on these ones, but well I like them!

Saw sharks

A brown longnose saw shark laying on the sea floor
Longnose sawshark. Photo by Becca Saunders [link]

You can probably guess why saw sharks are called that, even without the photo. They have an extended rostrum, edged with sharp teeth, similar to saw fish and saw skate. They also have a pair of long barbels on their snouts. The functions of both the barbels and the 'saw' are debated. Some theorize that it is used to hit prey and injure or stun prey, similarly to sawfish. Researchers have found ampullae of Lorenzini in the saw, which is a specialised sensory organ that allows them to detect electric fields given off by buried prey.
They usually eat small fish, squid and crustaceans.
There are eight species of saw shark, most commonly found around 40-100m deep in many parts of the world. Some of the sharks living in tropical regions have been found to live much deeper, at 640-915m.

Quick facts!
  • I don't have a lot to say that I haven't already
  • Sawsharks that typically live deeper in the ocean are less researched
  • Sawsharks reach a max length of 1.5m/5ft
Sharks with saws! Every 10 year olds coolest dream!

Basking shark

Basking shark with its large mouth openBasking shark. Photo by Alexander Mustard [link]

[Wikipedia link]

Basking sharks are the second largest living shark after whale sharks. They typically reach 7.9m/26ft long but have been known to reach up to 11m/36ft. An average basking shark weighs over 4 tons. Like whale sharks they are filter feeders, and their up to 1m/3ft3in mouths make eating a breeze.

Quick facts!
  • Many "globsters" have been identified as most likely to be basking sharks
  • Even though they swim at a feeding speed of 3.7km/2.3 per hour, they can breach jump entirely out of the water
  • Their liver, which is used for buoyancy, can account for 25% of their body weight
  • Pog shark
I love filter feeders. I think it's really cool that the largest sharks are all filter feeders.

Megamouth shark

A megamouth shark in dark waterMegamouth shark. Photo by Zola Chen [link]

Megamouth sharks are very rarely seen, let alone studied. Between 1976 and 2018, fewer than 100 specimens had been observed or caught. Megamouths, like basking sharks and whale sharks, are filter feeders. Their mouths can reach up to 1.3m/4ft3in in width in order to filter water for plankton and jellyfish. Researchers have discovered a reflective silvery-white band on the inside of their upper lips, and the purpose is still unknown. Theories include it being used to lure prey, or a form of identifying other megamouth sharks.

Quick facts!
  • The smallest of the filter feeding sharks, but still able to grow 5.5m/18ft in length and weigh up to 1,215kg/2,679lb
  • It's theorized that their filter feeding evolved independently from basking and whale sharks
  • Their heads are larger than their abdomens
Big mouth, maybe even mega. If you could believe.

Okay I think that's it for this blog! I hope you learnt something, or enjoyed the images of a bunch of different animals.

Big news for my fellow fish-heads: I have an entire list of other marine creatures I wanna research and share! I just need to sort them into groups and then I'll link the blogs below here when I'm done!

11 Kudos


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•FranWSea• 's profile picture

amo los tiburones!!!!!!! son animales hermosos que no deberían ser odiados TT muchas gracias por la información

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nicky's profile picture

the anticipation i had for this post really paid off!!! this was so fun to read. i love the ocean but i don’t know nearly enough about it. you’ve opened my eyes to some new shark species to be obsessed with! (the frilled shark!!! and the angel shark omg!!) i also loved the pictures included. cant wait to see more! :D

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THANK YOU! I'm so glad you enjoyed it :) I'll definitely be doing more posts I love just rambling about whatever sea creatures and everytime I think I know them all I get surprised with some more, or some more facts about ones I already knew! The world is so cool

by junipurr; ; Report