Shark diversity comes with some really cool evolutionary adaptations. Among the over 440 types of sharks, there are some pretty impressive biological characteristics. Some of these biological characteristics allow sharks to break records in both the animal kingdom and within their own species. Here is a rundown of the type of sharks that are record breakers!
Largest Shark: The Whale Shark
The largest shark in the ocean is also the largest fish in the ocean. The largest confirmed Whale Shark measured a whopping 41.5 ft (12.65 m) in length and weighed a massive 47,000 lb (21.5 t). There have also been multiple reports of these gigantic creatures measuring 46 ft (14 m) long and weighing 66,000 lb (30 t). The most interesting thing about these giant record breakers is for their massive size, they eat the smallest prey in the ocean. Whale Sharks are filter feeders and feast on microscopic zooplankton.
Smallest Shark: The Dwarf Lanternshark
The smallest shark in the tiny Dwarf Lanternshark that measures at 8.3 in (21.2 cm) and weighs 0.5 oz (14 g) at the largest. Though on average, Dwarf Lanternsharks grow to only 6 in (15.24 cm) in length. These tiny sharks are so small they can fit inside the palm of their hands. Although, their small size is no indication of their hunting prowess. Dwarf Lanternsharks are bioluminescent and have unique organs that will glow to trick and trap prey in the deepest, darkest waters. Once they’ve attracted prey, they will quickly snap them up, as fast as any other predatory shark!
Fastest Shark: Shortfin Mako Shark
The Shortfin Mako Shark clocks in at an impressive 46 mph (74kph) making it not only the fastest shark, but the second fastest ocean animal. There have been reports of Mako Sharks swimming as fast as 50 mph (80 kph), but they aren’t fully confirmed. The Mako’s impressive speed comes from a combination of it being an endotherm that can regulate itsblood temperature heating itsmuscles and itsstreamlined, muscular body. Mako Sharks can also use this impressive speed to jump 9 ft (2.74 m) above the surface of the water.
Slowest Shark: The Greenland Shark
The Greenland Shark is a Sleeper Shark that lives up to its name. Greenland Sharks slowly cruise the deep ocean waters at a slow 0.3 mph (0.76 kph). They are capable of an achingly slow top speed of 1.6 mph (2.6 kph) in short bursts. They are essentially the sloths of the ocean. The Greenland Shark lives in deep cold waters, so it doesn’t expel much energy on swimming. This shark opts instead to take its time, to slowly sneak up on unsuspecting or sleeping prey.
Oldest Shark: The Greenland Shark
Another record held by the Greenland Shark, is the longest living shark. Scientists estimate at the youngest Greenland Sharks live to 392 years old and 500 years at the oldest. They found this out recently by carbon dating the tissue in a Greenland Shark’s eye. After studying the 28 different members of the species they not only found that they live for centuries, but that they don’t even reach sexual maturity until they are 150 years old.
Oldest Species Of Shark: The Goblin Shark
Goblin Sharks are prehistoric species that date all the way back 125 million years. Goblin Sharks are dubbed a “living fossil” because they are so old that they lived at the same time as dinosaurs. Goblin Sharks are also not going anywhere anytime soon. These deep sea sharks are extremely populous and though its rare for humans to ever see one alive, unlike most types of sharks, they don’t face that many population pressures so they are thriving deep under the oceans.
Strongest Bite: The Great White Shark
It should be no surprise that the Great White Shark has the strongest bite force of any shark, but it also has the strongest bite force of any predator in the ocean or on land. One bite from a Great White Shark delivers a bone crushing 1.8 tons of pressure. That is 20 times the average bite force of a human and three times the bite force of a lion. Their bite force comes from powerful muscles and a flexible jaw.
Largest Fin: The Common Thresher Shark
The Common Thresher Shark has a caudal fin that measures half the length of its body. Since they grow to a massive 20 ft (6 m) in length, their tail size is on average 10 ft (3 m). They use these impressive tails in a number of different ways from tricking prey to slapping it. Their massive tail fin also gives them a huge speed advantage and they can clock in at and impressive 30 mph (48 kph).
Largest Mouth: The Basking Shark
Basking Sharks by far have the largest mouth of any shark. Their mouths open to a massive 20-26 ft (6-8 m) in length. Basking Sharks are filter feeders, so they use their giant mouths to snatch up zooplankton. Basking Sharks are also the second largest sharks on the planet, next to Whale Sharks, though their mouths open 4-5 times bigger that a Whale Shark.
Sharpest Teeth: A Tie Between The Silky And Sandbar Sharks
Both the Silky and Sandbar Sharks have extremely sharp teeth. They are triangular with sharply serrated edges that are so sharp they have been used as saw blades. Both the Silky and Sandbar Sharks do not have very large teeth, only measuring 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm). However, these sharp teeth appear in rows of 13-17 depending on the age of the shark. These sharp teeth help them easily break through the exoskeletons of crustaceans.
There are several different types of sharks in the world and with all the biodiversity, many sharks have record breaking characteristics. From being the largest fish in the ocean to the second fastest swimmer to having a bite force beyond even the most ferocious land predator, these record breakers are truly a wonder!