The oceans of the world are home to some of the biggest fish, including sharks. Some sharks, such as the whale shark, basking shark, and great white shark, may grow several meters larger than other fish. Certain shark species are tiny fish species. The vast majority of sharks are fearless predators in the oceans’ top tier of the food chain. Several shark species, particularly the “great white,” are placid, calm fish that can inspire terror.
The marine animal superorder (clade) Selachimorpha includes sharks, which are a type of cartilaginous fish. Sharks are related to all types of stingrays because their skeletons are made out of cartilage and not bones. Sharks are divided into eight orders, with over 500 species. The number of gills, body form, fins, snout, and mouth are all used to classify sharks. Many shark species are listed as endangered, despite the fact that they are apex predators (predators at the top of a food chain).
The great white shark, basking shark, and hammerhead shark are only a few of the well-known species of sharks that are endangered. The identifying characteristics of the most common types of sharks will be discussed in this article. Pictures and descriptions of these fascinating fish will help you identify them, along with the scientific names of the sharks.
Types of Sharks with their Picture and Common Name
Starting with the most famous and fearsome shark, the great white shark, let’s look in detail at the various kinds of sharks that live in oceans and seas all around the globe.
Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
The scientific name of the great white shark literally means “sharp or jagged tooth,” and it is one of the most well-known and gigantic species of sharks. All of the major oceans have a species of mackerel shark known as great white sharks. A mature shark might reach a length of 20 feet (6 meters) and weigh 4,200 pounds (1,905 kilograms). The top body is gray, while the underbody is white. The dorsal fin of great whites is huge, and the caudal (rear) fin is likewise huge.
These sharks may consume sea creatures, other fish, and birds. They are regarded as fearsome predators. Great white sharks don’t pursue and seldom attack people, contrary to popular belief. When a shark’s senses are dulled, it is more likely to attack humans. Great whites have, however, been linked to a number of attacks on humans from all marine species.
Blue Shark (Prionace glauca)
The body of blue sharks is long and pointed, with a bright blue top and sides. Blue sharks are one of the most frequent types of shark. These are sea creatures that live in both temperate and tropical oceans and swim at a leisurely pace.
The males are somewhat smaller than the females, and they may reach a maximum length of 10 feet (3 meters). Blue sharks have a long, slender body, as seen in the pictures. Blue sharks average 90 pounds (41 kilograms) to 302 pounds (137 kilograms) in weight depending on the sex.
Mackerel, tuna, squid, and even tiny sharks are among the foods they consume. The most common kind of shark in the world, blue sharks are said to be found all over. As a result, they are not designated as an endangered species.
Hammerhead Sharks (Sphyrnidae)
Hammerheads are bottom-feeding sharks that belong to a variety of species. Hammerheads get their common name from the scalloped hammerhead, Sphyrna Lewini. Hammerhead sharks have flattened heads that resemble hammers or mallets, and there are nine of them. The bonnethead shark is the hammerhead shark with the smallest size. They grow to be around 3 feet (0.9 meters) long.
The huge hammerhead shark, which may reach 20 feet (6 meters) in length, is the biggest of its kind. Hammerheads are a kind of bottom-dwelling shark that swims in the ocean’s depths. Squid, fish, and octopus are among the foods they consume there. They also hammer stingrays before devouring them with their weird heads. Hammerheads are one of the few sharks that swim in shoals, which is one of their distinguishing characteristics.
Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
Tiger sharks are a kind of ground shark that feeds on the bottom of the ocean. The dark stripes down the sides of a tiger shark’s body gave it its name. The distinguishing characteristic, on the other hand, is more noticeable in younger sharks. While the shark develops, it might take on the appearance of a large white shark, albeit being shorter. While tiger sharks seldom attack humans, they have been know to do so and are considered one of the most dangerous shark species out there.
These massive sharks feed on a broad range of prey and prefer to dwell near the bottom. Little fish, turtles, sea snakes, and dolphins are all part of this shark’s diet. The length of tiger sharks ranges from 10 to 14 feet (3 to 4 meters) and may weigh up to 1,400 pounds (635 kilograms).
Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)
The whale shark is the biggest species of shark and has a black body with white markings. With the largest verified specimen measuring 62 feet (18.8 meters) long, the whale shark is the world’s biggest shark species today. Whale sharks, which live in tropical marine environments, are classified as members of the order Orectolobiformes. Whale sharks are named after their carpet-like patterning, and they are a kind of carpet shark.
Other information regarding this species of shark also helps to demonstrate its huge size. They have mouths that are 5 feet (1.5 meters) wide and an average length of 32 feet (9.8 meters). They can weigh up to 16 US tons (15,000 kilograms). The filter feeder sharks include these big fish. They eat plankton, krill, and tiny fish in their wide open mouths while swimming with their huge mouths.
Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus)
The basking shark is the second-largest species of shark, with a pointed snout. This is a filter feeder that swims with an open mouth and eats plankton, similar to the whale shark. Basking sharks measure between 20 and 26 feet (6 and 8 meters) in length. Their skin is mottled, and it is dark gray in color. The basking shark is differentiated by its 3-foot (1-meter) wide mouth, in addition to its huge size.
Just behind the head, its gills almost circle the body. The pointed nose is another identifying feature. Elephant shark, bone shark, and sail-fish are some of the other names for the basking shark. These shark species’ names all relate to distinctive characteristics of the species.
Dogfish Sharks (Squalidae)
There are several species of little sharks known as dogfish. Dogfish sharks, members of the Squalidae family, are featured in the photograph. This family is the biggest of the shark orders, with around 119 species of shark. Because of their pack-hunting nature while hunting other fish, they are known as the dogfish. Dogfish packs might number in the thousands in rare cases. Spiny dogfish, dog sharks, and mud sharks are some of the other names for sharks in this group.
Depending on the species, these little sharks have grayish-brown skin and range in length from 31 to 50 inches (0.8 to 1.3 m). The short snouts, mouths beneath their bodies, and lack of anal fin are some other identifying features of dogfish sharks.
Shortfin Mako Shark (Isurus oxyrinchus)
The shortfin mako shark is a mackerel shark that swims at high speeds and has a long, thin body. Its scientific name translates to “pointy nose.” When you examine photographs of this metallic blue-colored shark, you can see how it got its name. The Māori word mako means “tooth” and refers to this shark species.
In temperate and tropical seas and oceans, the shortfin shark may be found. The elongated cylindrical body and lustrous blue hue distinguish the shark. The longfin shark, which prefers warmer waters, is a related species of this shark.
Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas)
The bull shark is a dangerous shark species that has been known to attack humans, much like the great white shark. The stocky, bull-like appearance, aggressive demeanor, and flat snout of this shark earned it the name. Bull sharks may dwell in both freshwater and saltwater, which is one of their unique characteristics. Some names for this shark imply where it may be found, which is interesting. The bull shark is also known by names like Lake Nicaragua shark, Zambezi shark, estuary whaler, and river shark.
Males are somewhat smaller than females and can reach an average of 8 ft. (2.4 m). Other sharks, stingrays, turtles, and birds are eaten by these carnivorous aggressive sea creatures. These sharks are fond of shallow water, and humans in their area may be attacked. In actuality, bull shark attacks on humans are more common than great white shark attacks.
Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)
The oceanic whitetip shark features white markings on its fins and has a flat body, which is described in both the common and scientific names. White-tipped pectoral fins are seen on the shark’s long pectoral fins. Sand bar shark, silvertip shark, and lesser white shark are some of the other names for this species. The deep, warm waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans are preferred by this kind of shark.
With a flattened body, pointed snout, and razor-sharp teeth, the whitetip shark is instantly recognizable as a shark. There aren’t many things whitetip sharks won’t consume, being the top apex predator in the oceans. Bony fish, crustaceans, gastropods, turtles, and tuna are among the foods they consume. They either bite their prey or have their mouth open as they swim through fish shoals.
Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus)
Due to the black coloring on the tips of its fins, blacktip reef sharks may be recognized in tropical seas. These sharks may be found in tropical reefs and inshore waters, as the name suggests. Although blacktip sharks are frequently found near the coast, they are a shy species and pose little danger to humans.
The basic shape of blacktips, as seen in many sharks in the Carcharhinidae family, is elongated and torpedo-like. These sharks have a huge first and second dorsal fins, as well as a huge triangular tail fin that distinguishes them from other black-tipped fins. They may grow to be around 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. Most marine creatures and fish found around coral reefs are included in their diet.
Sand Tiger Shark (Carcharias taurus)
The sand tiger shark has a pointy flat snout and lives near sandy shores. This shark is calm and non-threatening, despite its menacing appearance and powerful swimming abilities. Due to its long-pointed nose and gray coloration akin to that of a small great white, this shark has a frightening appearance. The warm seas of the Mediterranean, Japan’s coasts, and Australia’s coasts, as well as North and South America’s eastern coasts, are home to these predatory sharks.
The length of these huge, solid sharks may reach 3.2 m (10.5 ft). Their pointed, flattened conical nose, sharp pointed teeth, and long expanded caudal fin distinguish them. Bottom feeders like sand tiger sharks prefer to eat bony fish. These are frequently the type of sharks kept in public aquariums because of their frightening appearance but docile nature. Because of human threats to their natural habitats, they are classified as vulnerable in the wild.
Lemon Shark (Negaprion brevirostris)
Lemon sharks are in the same genus as blue sharks, reef sharks, and tiger sharks. They feed at night and prefer shallow subtropical seas. The lemon shark’s pale yellow-brown coloration earned it the common name. When swimming in shallow sandy inshore coastal waters, this provides excellent camouflage.
The body of these mid-sized sharks is flattened, with a short wide snout and two equal-sized dorsal fins. Lemon sharks are usually between 8 and 10 feet long (2.4–3 m). Freshwater is also possible for lemon sharks. They are, however, most often found near the western coasts of Africa and North and South America. Lemon sharks are selective feeders that feed at night.
Speartooth Shark (Glyphis glyphis)
In Australia and New Guinea’s tropical rivers and coasts, speartooth sharks are a uncommon species of river shark. The species is endangered, and this is a uncommon kind of shark. The gray color, wide snout, and small eyes on the front of speartooth shark heads help to identify them.
The pectoral and dorsal fins are large, and the caudal fin is long. These sharks can grow up to 8.5 feet (2.6 meters) long. The pointed triangular teeth, which resemble the tip of a spear, earned this shark its name.
Dusky Shark (Carcharhinus obscurus)
Dusky sharks belong to the Carcharhinidae family of sharks and can be found all around the globe. These sharks may be found in warm continental seas and deep tropical oceans. During summers in the poles and winters in the equator, they are also a migratory shark species.
This massive fish may reach a length of 14 feet (4.2 meters). The streamlined body, small nose, and huge dorsal fin distinguish it. The pectoral fins of this shark are shaped like a sickle, and the caudal fin is much longer than usual. Brown common gray sharks, river whalers, slender whalers shark, and bay sharks are some of the other frequent names for dusky sharks.
Goblin Shark (Mitsukurina Owstoni)
The goblin shark is a distinctive-looking species of shark that can be recognized by its unusual nose. This family Mitsukurinidae contains just one species, which lives in deep-sea environments. Despite the fact that this is a rare species, it is not threatened. Because of its unique nose and elongated appearance, this is also a very unusual shark.
Above its little mouth, the pointed snout expands. Its caudal fin is long and it has a thin body. Because little is known about this shark, it is seldom seen.
Brownbanded Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum)
When they are young, brownbanded bamboo sharks have distinct darker bands across their bodies. These brown sharks, like catfish, spend the majority of their time swimming at the bottom. They have barbels that are similar to those of the fish and are also known as “cat sharks.” These patterns are more obvious in juvenile animals and fade with maturity.
The length of brownbanded bamboo sharks is around 3.2 feet (1 meter). Because of the loss of habitat, they are endangered in the wild. In aquariums and fish tanks, they are, nevertheless, common.
Megamouth Shark (Megachasma pelagios)
The megamouth shark has a long body with a huge head and mouth. This deep-water shark species has only been documented a few times. This is a filter-feeding shark, similar to basking sharks and whale sharks. This shark has a huge mouth, as the name implies.
Off the coast of California, one of these sharks was caught. It had a huge head and mouth up to 4 feet (1.3 meters) wide, measuring 16 feet (5 meters) in length.
Its rubbery lips and tiny teeth are an unusual feature of its mouth. The megamouth shark stands out as one of the few sharks on this list that looks more like a whale than a shark.