Learn more about the ocean's super predators.
In the Shark Tank, you can see hundreds of fish, including five types of sharks:
- Sand tiger
- Black tip
- Sand bar
Watch for stingrays, barracuda and sea turtles in this tank too!
Sharks: Super Predators
Powerful, streamlined bodies and the unique ability to detect electrical fields from living prey make sharks extraordinarily efficient hunters. Of the more than 350 known species of sharks, most prey on other fishes, invertebrates or marine mammals.
Sharks can find prey buried under sand! They have small pores on head and snout that sense minute electrical fields from other fishes, even when they’re buried in the sand.
Although it looks smooth, shark skin is rough, like sandpaper. Sharks don’t have scales like other fishes. Their skin is covered with thousands of tooth-like plates called denticles that protect them like armor.
Not all species of shark must move to survive. Bottom feeders like nurse sharks can rest on the sea floor for long periods of time, but species that hunt in the open ocean may need to swim constantly to keep water flowing through their gills.
Sharks come in all sizes, from dwarf sharks at only 6 inches to whale sharks that are 50 feet long and weigh more than 20 tons — or 40,000 pounds.
Will Sharks Survive?
For 400 million years, sharks have cruised Earth’s oceans, their dominance uncontested. Now many shark populations, including great whites, are in trouble. Overfishing, trophy hunting, slow maturation and naturally low rates of reproduction have reduced their numbers alarmingly during the past century.
Shark fishermen still land thousands each year, but the catch is dwindling rapidly. The soupfin shark fishery provides an example of why some species are disappearing. When sharks are caught, their fins are sliced off and their bodies dumped back into the ocean as waste. Unable to swim, they're either eaten, drown or die of starvation.