Advertisement.

EnchantedLearning.com is a user-supported site.
As a bonus, site members have access to a banner-ad-free version of the site, with print-friendly pages.
Click here to learn more.

ad
(Already a member? Click here.)

Table of Contents
Enchanted Learning
All About Sharks!

Geologic Time Chart
Introduction to Sharks Introduction to Rays Anatomy Shark and Ray Species Extreme Sharks Extinct Sharks Classification Shark Glossary Shark Index Printables, Worksheets, and Activities

Shark Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U-Z

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.
If the shark or shark term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.

C


CALF

A calf is a baby whale (or other baby cetacean).


CALF SHARK

The calf shark (also known as the Bigeye sixgill shark and the Lesser sixgill shark) lives in warm temperate seas, usually living on the bottom. It averages about 6 feet (1.8m) long. The skin ranges from dark gray to light gray. Classification: Order Hexanchiformes (frilled and cowsharks), Family Hexanchidae (cowsharks, sixgilled and sevengilled sharks), Genus and species Hexanchus vitalus (Springer and Waller, 1969) or Hexanchus nakamurai (Teng, 1962) - the latter is preferred.
CAMOUFLAGE
The disguising of a person, animal or thing so that it looks like its surroundings.
Tiger shark
CARCHARHINIDAE

Family Carcharinidae (also known as requiem sharks) are a type of large Carcharhiniformes sharks. with 5 gill slits, two dorsal fins, an anal fin, no fin spines, the mouth behind the eyes, and nictitating eyelids. There are 48 species of carcharinidae including the tiger shark, Dusky shark, Bull shark, Galapagos shark, Sandbar shark, and many others.
Tiger shark
CARCHARHINIFORMES

A clade of sharks with 5 gill slits, two dorsal fins, an anal fin, no fin spines, the mouth behind the eyes, and nictitating eyelids. These include the ground sharks: catsharks, swellsharks, shysharks, houndsharks, weasel sharks, requiem and hammerhead sharks.

CARCHARODON (or CARCHAROCLES) MEGALODON

Carcharodon (or Carcharocles) megalodon was an ancient shark, living between 5-1.6 million years ago; it is extinct. It may have been up to 40 feet (12 m) long and had teeth up to 6.5 inches (17 cm) long.


CARNIVORE

Carnivores are animals that eat meat. They usually have sharp teeth and powerful jaws.

CARPET SHARKS

A clade of shark that has an anal fin, 5 gill slits, 2 dorsal fins (about the same size), no fin spines, and the mouth in front of the eyes. The carpet sharks include: epaulette sharks, the wobbegong, nurse, bamboosharks, blind, zebra, and whale sharks. Most carpet sharks are small and have thin, slightly flat bodies. They are mainly nocturnal (most active at night) and generally eat small bottom-dwelling fish and invertebrates. These sharks are found on rocky or coral reefs and in tide pools; some use their short pectoral fins to "walk" on the bottom. Most species lay eggs. Classification: Order Orectolobiformes

CARRIBEAN REEF SHARK

The Carribean Reef Shark (Carcharhinus perezi) is a large, common shark found in warm water reefs of the Western Atlantic Ocean (from Florida, USA to Bermuda to southern Brazil). This shark has a stout body with gray to gray-brown skin above (with lighter skin below). It has a rounded snout, long pectoral fins, and a dorsal fin with a sharp point. The long, serrated teeth have broad bases, and are able to eat fish, rays, and cephalopods. This fast swimmer grows to be about 10 ft ( m) long. These sharks have attacked divers on occasion. Females give birth to 4 to 6 pups in each litter. This shark is harvested for its oil, meat, skin, and for fishmeal.

CARRION

Carrion is the dead flesh of an animal. Many sharks, including the great white shark, eat carrion found floating the seas.

CARTILAGE

Sharks' skeletons are made out of cartilage, not bone. People's ears and bones are made of cartilage.There is cartilage around the joints of animals with bony skeletons.

CARTILAGINOUS FISH

The cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes), are fish whose skeletons are made up of cartilage, not bone. They include the sharks, rays, skates, ratfish, and others.

CATSHARKS

Catsharks are a family of small sharks (family Scyliorhinidae, order Carcharhiniformes) that live in cold, deep water, have slit-like pupils, and are primarily night feeders. These ground sharks have an anal fin, 5 gill slits, 2 dorsal fins, no fin spines, the mouth located behind the eyes, and nictitating eyelids. They are oviparous and have purse-shaped eggs with long tendrils that anchor the egg to the ocean floor. Catsharks live in temperate waters and are frequently found along the bottom of tropical reefs poking around crevices looking for food (benthic fish and invertebrates). There are 89 different species of cat sharks, including the coral catshark, the striped catshark, and the Smallspotted catshark.

CAUDAL

Caudal means toward or at the tail of an animal.

CENOZOIC ERA

The "Age of Mammals" (65 million years ago - today), saw the emergence of familiar life forms, humans, the modern look of the continents, and a cooling climate. The Cenozoic followed the Mesozoic Era.


CEPHALOPOD

Cephalopods (meaning "head foot") are mollusks with tentacles and a large head. These soft-bodied invertebrates include animals like squid, octopuses and cuttlefish. They are fast-moving carnivores that catch prey with their tentacles and poison it with a bite from beak-like jaws. They move with by squirting water through a siphon, a type of jet propulsion. Many also squirt ink to help escape predators.

CETACEANS

Cetaceans are an order of marine mammals that include three suborders, including the Odontoceti (toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises), Mysticeti (baleen whales), and Archaeoceti (extinct whales). There are 75 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

CHIMAERA

Chimaera (or ratfish) are cartilaginous fish that have compressed bodies and rodent-like teeth (hence their name). Chimaera are closely related to sharks and rays (in the class Chondrichthyes), but chimaeras have bigger heads and eyes, the mouth is more towards the front of the head, the skin is smooth, most species have a whip-like tail, and the four gills have gill covers and are located under the skull. Male chimaera are smaller than the females. Chimaeras are also called elephantfish (the family Callorhynchidae) or ghost sharks. Chimaeras evolved during the Devonian (about 340 million years ago). There are three families of Chimaera and about 35 species alive today; they all live in cold water and are oviparous (they lay eggs); they lay eggs on the ocean floor.

CHONDRYICHTHYES

Chondrichthyes are cartilaginous fish, including the sharks, skates, and rays. They lack true bone and have skeletons composed of cartilage. Because of this they do not fossilize well.

CHORDATA

Chordates are animals that have a notochord and gill clefts at some point in their life. They have a hollow nerve cord that ends in a brain. Chordates include the vertebrates, cephalochordates (e.g. amphioxus), and urochordates (e.g. sea squirts).


CIGAR SHARK

The cigar shark (Isistius brasiliensis) is a small, large-eyed predator that lives in deep tropical ocean waters worldwide. The cigar shark is also known as the cookiecutter shark (due to its color and shape), the luminous shark (because it emits a green glow from its belly), and the Brazilian shark. This brown shark grows to be almost 2 ft (50 cm) long and has a blunt snout. The dorsal fin is small and closer to its tail than on most sharks. The large eyes have green pupils. It is harmless to humans and is rarely even seen by divers. It eats by taking cookiecutter-shaped bites out of its victims with its long teeth and powerful jaws, mostly attacking large fish and whales (including dolphins). In an attack, the cookiecutter shark attaches to its victim with its lips like a suction cup (it created a vacuum). It then uses saw-like teeth that swivel and take an oval-shaped bite of flesh. The belly of the cookiecutter shark has a small patch of bioluminescence on it. This patch is thought to lure fish to it in the dark, deep ocean environment. Hungry fish think the cookiecutter is a smaller fish than it is (because the patch is smaller than the cookiecutter and that is all they can see in the dark); the cookiecutter can then ambush and bite the surprised "hunter." The cookiecutter reproduces via aplacental viviparity, but little else is known about its reproduction.

CLADE

A clade is a group of all the organisms that share a particular common ancestor (and therefore have similar features). The members of a clade are related to each other.

CLADISTICS

Cladistics is a method of classifying organisms based on common ancestry and the branching of the evolutionary family tree. Organisms that share common ancestors (and therefore have similar features) are grouped into taxonomic groups called clades. Cladistics can also be used to predict properties of yet-to-be discovered organisms.

CLADOGRAM

Cladograms are branching diagrams that depict species divergence from common ancestors. They show the distribution and origins of shared characteristics. Cladograms are testable hypotheses of phylogenetic relationships.

CLADOSELACHE

The earliest complete fossil shark was from this genus, which lived during the late Devonian. They had 3-pointed teeth, each having a large central point and smaller cusps flanking it. These sharks were about 1.5-6 feet (0.5-2 m) long and had large spines in front of each of the 2 dorsal fins. They had neither an anal fin nor claspers. 5 gill slits were on each side of the head. Fossil have been found in the Cleveland shale including fossilized stomach contents which reveal that they ate crustceans.

CLASPERS

Claspers are modified organs that enable the two sexes to clasp to one another during mating. Male sharks have claspers.

CLASS

In classification, a class is a group of related or similar organisms. A class contains one or more orders. A group of similar classes forms a phylum.

CLASSIFICATION

The classification of organisms helps in the their study. Cladistics is a method based on common ancestry; the Linnean system is based on a simple hierarchical structure.


COELACANTH

The Coelacanth (pronounced SEE-la-canth) is a primitive lobe-finned fish, (a bony fish and NOT a shark) that appeared about 350 million years ago. Coelacanth (meaning "hollow spine") is about 5 feet (1.5 m) long. This carnivore (meat-eater) was thought to have been extinct for millions of years, but a living Coelacanth was caught in the Indian Ocean off the coast of South Africa in 1938.

COLD BLOODED

Cold blooded (or ectothermic) animals rely upon the temperature and their behavior (like sunning themselves) to regulate their body temperature. Many reptiles are ectothermic. Most sharks are cold-blooded, only a few, like the Mako and the Great white shark can raise their temperature above that of the water.

COMMENSALISM

Commensalism is a situation in which two organisms are associated in a relationship in which one benefits from the relationship and the other is not affected much. The two animals are called commensals. The shark and the pilot fish (and remora) are commensals - the pilot fish benefits much more than the shark. Commensalism is a type of symbiosis.
Thresher shark
COMMON THRESHER SHARK

Alopias vulpinus is a Lamniformes (or mackerel shark) whose tail fin has a greatly elongated upper lobe. It grows to be about 16.5 to 20 feet (5 to 6 m) long with a countershaded body, blue above, white underneath. It has small jaws, but can use its tail to corral and even kill fish. Like other mackerel sharks, it has an anal fin, 5 gill slits, 2 dorsal fins, no fin spines, mouth behind the eyes, and no nictitating eyelids. It is a very strong swimmer and can even leap out of the water. It swims from the surface to a depth of about 1,150 feet (350 m). Mature females (at least 10 feet (3 m) long have litters of 4 to 6 pups, bearing live young. It lives in tropical and temperate waters, including the eastern and western Atlantic, the central Pacific, and the Indo-west pacific.
Food chain

CONSUMER

A consumer is a living thing that eats other living things to survive. It cannot make its own food (unlike most plants, which are producers). Primary consumers eat producers, secondary consumers eat primary consumers, and so on. There are always many more primary consumers than secondary consumers, etc.

CONTINENTAL DRIFT

Continental drift is the movement of the Earth's continents. The land masses are hunks of Earth's crust that float on the molten core.
CONTINENTAL SHELF
The continental shelf is the part of the ocean floor next to each of the continents. The sea floor slopes gradually from the continent to a depth of about 65 feet (200 m). Beyond the continental shelf the sea floor drops steeply

CONVERGENT EVOLUTION

Convergent evolution is when a trait develops independently in two or more groups of organisms. An example is the independent development of the wings of Pterodactyls, birds, and bats.


COOKIECUTTER SHARK

The cookiecutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis) is a small, large-eyed predator that lives in deep tropical ocean waters worldwide. The cookiecutter is also known as the cigar shark (due to its color and shape), the luminous shark (because it emits a green glow from its belly), and the Brazilian shark. This brown shark grows to be almost 2 ft (50 cm) long and has a blunt snout. The dorsal fin is small and closer to its tail than on most sharks. The large eyes have green pupils. It is harmless to humans and is rarely even seen by divers. It eats by taking cookiecutter-shaped bites out of its victims with its long teeth and powerful jaws, mostly attacking large fish and whales (including dolphins). In an attack, the cookiecutter shark attaches to its victim with its lips like a suction cup (it created a vacuum). It then uses saw-like teeth that swivel and take an oval-shaped bite of flesh. The belly of the cookiecutter shark has a small patch of bioluminescence on it. This patch is thought to lure fish to it in the dark, deep ocean environment. Hungry fish think the cookiecutter is a smaller fish than it is (because the patch is smaller than the cookiecutter and that is all they can see in the dark); the cookiecutter can then ambush and bite the surprised "hunter." The cookiecutter reproduces via aplacental viviparity, but little else is known about its reproduction.

COPEPODS

Copepods are minuscule crustaceans (related to shrimp) that are eaten by many baleen whales and many other animals. They are the biggest source of protein in the oceans and are found in all of the oceans and in many bodies of fresh water.

COUNTERSHADING

Countershading is a type of body coloration that sharks and some other animals have in which the top and bottom sides are colored differently, serving to camouflage the animal from multiple perspectives. In sharks, the top is much darker than the belly. When the shark is viewed from above, its dark top surface blends into the dark ocean depths or ocean floor; when viewed from below, the light-colored belly blends in with the light above. This helps the shark hunt in a stealthy manner, enabling it to sneak up on prey undetected.


COW SHARK

The cow shark (Notorynchus cepedianus), also known as the broadnose sevengill shark, the broad snout shark, the ground shark, and the spotted sevengill shark ,is a distinctive and rare shark that has seven gills (most sharks have five). This unusual shark also has a single (and small) dorsal fin. The broadnose sevengill grows to be up to 10 ft (3 m) long, is speckled and silvery; this shark has small eyes, and a wide head. These aggressive sharks eat fish (including other sharks, rays, and bony fish), seals, and scavenged prey (including human corpses). Broadnose sevengill sharks live in temperate seas on continental shelves (to a depth of 450 ft (135 m). The upper teeth are jagged and multi-cusped (except the center tooth). The lower teeth are comb-shaped. These sharks bear live young in shallow bays. Litters of up to 80 pups have been found. Pups are about 16-18 inches (40-45 cm) long. It was named by Peron in 1807. Classification: Order Hexanchiformes, Family Hexanchidae.
CRETACEOUS PERIOD
Flowering plants appeared and dinosaurs were at their height during the Cretaceous period, 146-65 million years ago. There was a mass extinction (the K-T mass extinction) at the end of the Cretaceous, marking the end of the dinosaurs and many other species. Modern-day sharks existed during the Cretaceous period.

CRETODUS

Cretodus is an extinct genus of Mackerel sharks that lived during the late Cretaceous period. This shark is known only from fossilized teeth and vertebrae that have been found in Africa, Europe, and North America. The length of the teeth (from the tip of the crown to the tip of the root) is about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm). Cretodus was named by Sokolov in 1965. Classification: Order Lamniformes, Family Cretoxyrhinidae.

CROCODILE SHARK

Pseudocarcharias kamoharai is a widespread bottom-dwelling Lamniformes (or mackerel shark). This shark has a stream-lined body, gray to brown in color, with a lighter-colored belly and white edges on the fins. The eyes are very large and the head is long. The teeth are long and thin; it preys upon squid, shrimp, and fish. This common shark is harmless to man. The crocodile shark's liver is very oily, containing squalene, a low-density oil, which gives this shark neutral buoyancy. Makes average 3.1 ft (96 cm) long; females average 3 ft (92 cm) long. The biggest-known crocodile shark was 3.6 ft (1.1 m) long. Crocodile sharks reproduce via aplacental viviparity bearing four pups per litter; unborn pups are cannibalistic in each of the two womb. The eggs hatch within the female and are nourished by eating unfertilized eggs and smaller siblings in the womb.

CRUSTACEANS

Crustaceans are mostly marine animals (invertebrates) that have an exoskeleton and jointed legs. They are arthropods. Copepods, barnacles, amphipods, isopods, lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and crayfish are crustaceans.
Bull shark

CUB SHARK

Carcharhinus leucas is also known as the Bull shark, the Ganges shark, the River shark, the Nicaragua shark, the Zambezi shark, the Shovelnose shark, the Slipway gray shark, the Square-nose shark, and Van Rooyen's shark. It is a large, fierce predator that eats fish, including other sharks, ray, and just about anything else. It has been known to attack people and will venture into fresh water.
Zoom Sharks
Shark Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U-Z

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.
If the shark or shark term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.

Enchanted Learning®
Over 35,000 Web Pages
Sample Pages for Prospective Subscribers, or click below

Overview of Site
What's New
Enchanted Learning Home
Monthly Activity Calendar
Books to Print
Site Index

K-3
Crafts
K-3 Themes
Little Explorers
Picture dictionary
PreK/K Activities
Rebus Rhymes
Stories
Writing
Cloze Activities
Essay Topics
Newspaper
Writing Activities
Parts of Speech

Fiction
The Test of Time
iPhone app
TapQuiz Maps - free iPhone Geography Game

Biology
Animal Printouts
Biology Label Printouts
Biomes
Birds
Butterflies
Dinosaurs
Food Chain
Human Anatomy
Mammals
Plants
Rainforests
Sharks
Whales
Physical Sciences: K-12
Astronomy
The Earth
Geology
Hurricanes
Landforms
Oceans
Tsunami
Volcano
Languages
Dutch
French
German
Italian
Japanese (Romaji)
Portuguese
Spanish
Swedish
Geography/History
Explorers
Flags
Geography
Inventors
US History

Other Topics
Art and Artists
Calendars
College Finder
Crafts
Graphic Organizers
Label Me! Printouts
Math
Music
Word Wheels

Click to read our Privacy Policy

E-mail


Enchanted Learning Search

Search the Enchanted Learning website for:



Advertisement.



Advertisement.



Advertisement.


Copyright ©1996 EnchantedLearning.com ------ How to cite a web page