SHARK ANATOMY
Tiger shark

SHARK BODY SHAPES

BODY SHAPE
Most sharks have streamlined, torpedo shaped bodies that allow them to swim through the water with a minimum amount of friction. This enables them to swim very fast in order to catch prey.

Most bottom dwelling sharks (like the angelsharks) have flattened bodies that let them hide in the sand on the ocean bed. These slower-swimming animals usually hide on the ocean floor and burst out of the sand to surprise their prey, killing it with their tooth-filled, trap-like jaws.

TAIL SHAPES
The fast-swimming predators (like the great white, mako, tiger, and the hammerhead) have tails with lobes that are almost the same size. Slower swimming sharks have tails that are more asymmetrical. The thresher sharks have tails whose top lobe are up to half the body length.

FINS
Sharks differ in the number of fins they have. The Hexanchiformes (frilled sharks and cow sharks) have one dorsal fin (the fin on the shark's back); all other sharks have two dorsal fins. The Squatiniformes (angelsharks), Pristiophoriformes (sawsharks) and Squaliformes (dogfish sharks) have no anal fin; all other sharks have an anal fin (the fin on the belly by the tail).

SNOUT AND MOUTH
Most sharks have relatively blunt snouts except the sawsharks, which have greatly elongated, toothed snouts.

Whale shark Most sharks have mouths located on the underside of their snout. A few sharks have a mouth at the tip of the snout, including the angelsharks and whale shark.

ODDITIES
The hammerhead sharks have a very wide front of the head. The great hammerhead shark uses its "hammer" to pin down stingrays in order to eat them.

The goblin shark has a long, paddle-like protuberance pointing forward from the front of its head; its purpose is unknown.




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