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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

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If the shark or shark term you are looking for is not in the dictionary, please e-mail us.

Click on an underlined word for more information on that subject.

N

NANOFOSSIL
Nanofossils are microscopic fossils that are very abundant, widely distributed, and time-specific (because of their high evolutionary rates). They are very useful index fossils.
NARES
The nares are the nasal openings of an animal, or the nostrils. Shark nostrils are used only for the sense of smell, not for respiration.


NASAL BARBEL

Nasal barbels are sensory projections near the nostrils and mouth of some sharks (e.g., the nurse shark). These barbels are whisker-like feelers used to taste and feel.
NATURAL SELECTION
Natural selection is the process in which some organisms live and reproduce and others die before reproducing. Some life forms survive and reproduce because they are better suited to environmental pressures, ensuring that their genes are perpetuated in the gene pool.


NAUTILOIDS

Nautiloids are primitive, thick-shelled, carnivorous marine invertebrates, cephalopod. The shell is divided into chambers. The nautiloid head has well-developed eyes and tentacles that can grasp prey. They swim by jet-propulsion; they squirt water out from the body cavity. They evolved during the Silurian and are still around today, but are uncommon (only a single genus survives). They were most abundant during the Paleozoic Era, roughly 400 million years ago. Some Nautiloids evolved into Ammonoids.
NEKTON
Nektonic (nektos is Greek for "swimming") animals are those marine creatures that are able to swim against the current. Sharks and rays are nektonic.
NERETIC
Pertaining to the shallow waters near the shore over the continental shelf.
Bull shark

NICARAGUA SHARK

Carcharhinus leucas is also known as the Bull shark, the Ganges shark, the River shark, the Cub 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.


NICTITATING MEMBRANE

Some sharks (Carcharhiniformes) have a nictitating membrane, a type of eyelid that protects the eye during hunting.

NORTHERN WHALER SHARK

Carcharhinus plumbeus (also called the sandbar shark, brown shark, the thickskin shark, and the ground shark) is a common shark with a very tall dorsal fin. They have mouse-gray skin, with paler skin below; the head is wide and flat. They largest found was about 8 ft (2.4 m) long; on average, females are 6 ft (1.8 m) long and males are 3.2 ft (1 m) long. Sandbar sharks are found from very shallow waters to deep waters, generally staying on the bottom. They also frequent estuaries and harbors. Sandbar sharks have a growth rate of about 1.7 inches (43 mm) per year, a slow growth rate for sharks. The thick skin is used for leather. These strong swimmers migrate over 1550 miles (2500 km). Their diet is mostly fish, including menhaden, eels, other sharks, skates, squid, and also crustaceans. Females are mature at 16 years and give birth to 8-12 live young after a gestation period of 9-12 months. Pups are about 8.5 inches (22 cm) long at birth. Classification: Order Carcharhiniformes, Family Carcharhinidae (requiem sharks).
NOSTRILS
Sharks and rays have paired nostrils on the underside of the snout. Water continually flows through the nostrils, giving the shark olfactory (the sense of smell) information. Unlike humans, shark nostrils have nothing to do with breathing - they are not even connected to the mouth.
Nothosaurus

NOTHOSAURS

Nothosaurs were reptiles with flipper-like limbs that lived both on land and in the water during the Triassic period. They were not dinosaurs. Nothosaurs include Nothosaurus, Lariosaurus, and Ceresiosaurus.
NUMBFISH
Numbfish are electric rays. They numb their prey with an electric current to disable it.
Nurse shark

NURSE SHARK

Ginglymostoma cirratum is a large, sluggish shark that is generally harmless unless provoked. It has very strong jaws, a stout body, and a wide head. They are dark gray on top, some with spots. They are nocturnal hunters that rest during the day in groups. Nurse sharks do well in captivity.
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.

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