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BIGGEST LIVING SHARKS
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 sharks are the Greenland shark and the Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) which grow 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.
SCARIEST SHARK EVER (NOW 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!
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 adult males
- Spined pygmy shark (Squaliolus laticaudus), which is about 8 inches (21 cm) long for fully-grown females and 7 inches (18 cm) long for males
- 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.
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."
The fastest swimming sharks are the mako sharks and blue sharks, which can even leap out of the water. They are also among 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 a definitive answer.
The whale shark has the biggest mouth among sharks.
The thresher sharks have the longest tail among sharks; the upper lobe of their tails are about the same length as their bodies.
STRONGEST SHARK BITE
The strongest shark bite belongs to the dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus); its jaws have been measured to exert 132 pounds (60 kg) of force per tooth (James Snodgrass and Perry Gilbert, 1965).
MOST COMMON SHARK
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.
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.
The Portuguese shark dives down over 9,000 feet (2750 m). This is over 1.5 miles.
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.
One Blue shark was found with 135 pups in her uterus.
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