Definition of Cirri

What Are Cirri and Why Do Sharks Have Them?

You’ve probably seen pictures or videos of sharks with strange-looking appendages protruding from their heads. These are called cirri, and they serve a few different purposes for sharks. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what cirri are, what they do, and why sharks have them.

Cirri are finger-like projections that extend from the heads of some sharks. They vary in length depending on the species of shark, but they can be up to several inches long. Cirri are most commonly found on the leading edge of the shark’s dorsal fin, but they can also be found on other parts of the body, such as the pectoral fins.

So what do cirri do?

For one thing, they help sharks to sense their surroundings. Cirri are covered with tiny pores that contain sensors that can detect movement, changes in water pressure, and vibrations in the water. This allows sharks to “see” without using their eyes and to find prey even in dark or murky waters.

Cirri also play a role in communication. Scientists believe that cirri may help sharks to communicate with each other through a process called electroreception. This is when an animal uses sensors in its body to detect electrical signals in the environment. For example, some animals can use electroreception to sense the heartbeat of their prey.


Sharks are amazing creatures, and their cirri are just one of the many features that make them unique. While we may not know everything about these curious appendages, we do know that they play an important role in helping sharks to survive in their underwater homes.

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