White shark

A great white shark at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to sharks:

Sharks (superorder Selachimorpha) – type of fish with a full cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body. The earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago, before the time of the dinosaurs.[1]

Fields that study sharks

  • Ichthyology – branch of zoology devoted to fish (including sharks)
  • Meristics – branch of ichthyology that relates to counting features of fish, such as the number of fins or scales

What is a shark?

A shark, also called a "selachimorph", can be described as all of the following:

  • Animal – multicellular, eukaryotic organism of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. An animal's body plan eventually becomes fixed as it develops, although some types of animal undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most kinds of animal are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and independently.
    • Chordate – Chordates (phylum Chordata) are animals which are either vertebrates or one of several closely related invertebrates.
      • Fish – gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate (or craniate) animal that lacks limbs with digits.
        • Chondrichthye (cartilaginous fish) – jawed fish with paired fins, paired nares, scales, two-chambered hearts, and skeletons made of cartilage rather than bone.
          • Elasmobranch – member of the subclass Elasmobranchii, which includes sharks, rays, and skates.
  • Predator – organism that attacks and feeds on prey (the organism that is attacked).[2]
    • Apex predator – some shark species are apex predators, that is, predators with no predators of their own, residing at the top of their food chain.[3]

Biological classification

Types of sharks

Main article: List of sharks

Subdivisions of the biological classification Selachimorpha include:

Shark behavior


Shark attacks

Main article: Shark attack

Range and habitats of sharks


  • Bodies of water in which sharks can be found include:
  • Depths: from the surface down to depths of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft).
File:Male whale shark at Georgia Aquarium.jpg


  • White Shark Cafe – remote mid-Pacific Ocean area noted as a winter and spring habitat of otherwise coastal great white sharks

Sharks in captivity

Main article: Sharks in captivity

Shark anatomy

Protective equipment

File:Shark net example.svg

Shark fishing

Shark conservation

  • 1992 Cageless shark-diving expedition – 1st publicized cageless dive with great white sharks which contributed to changing public opinions about the supposed "killing machine"
  • Shark Alliance – coalition of non-governmental organizations dedicated to restoring and conserving shark populations by improving European fishing policy
  • Shark Conservation Act – Proposed US law to protect sharks
  • Shark sanctuary – Palau's first-ever attempt to prohibit taking sharks within its territorial waters
  • Shark tourism – form of ecotourism showcasing sharks
  • Shark Trust – A UK organisation for conservation of sharks

Notable sharks

Notable researchers and people

File:Hans Hass.jpg
  • Peter Benchley – author of the novel Jaws, later worked for shark conservation
  • Jacques-Yves CousteauFrench naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water including sharks
  • Eugenie Clark–American ichthyologist researching poisonous fish and the behavior of sharks; popularly known as The Shark Lady
  • Leonard Compagno–international authority on shark taxonomy, best known for 1984 catalog of shark species (FAO)
  • Ben CroppAustralian former shark hunter, who stopped in 1962 to produced some 150 wildlife documentaries
  • Richard Ellis – American marine biologist, author, and illustrator.
  • Rodney Fox – South Australian film maker, conservationist, survivor of great white shark attack and one of the world's foremost authorities on them
  • Andre HartmanSouth African diving guide best known for free-diving unprotected with great white sharks
  • Hans Hass – diving pioneer, known for shark documentaries
  • Mike Rutzen – great white shark expert and outspoken champion of shark conservation; known for free diving unprotected with great white sharks
  • Ron & Valerie Taylor – ex-spearfishing champions who switched from killing to filming underwater documentaries

See also


  1. ^ Martin, R. Aidan. "Geologic Time". ReefQuest. Retrieved 2006-09-09. 
  2. ^ Begon, M., Townsend, C., Harper, J. (1996). Ecology: Individuals, populations and communities (Third edition). Blackwell Science, London. ISBN 0-86542-845-X, ISBN 0-632-03801-2, ISBN 0-632-04393-8.
  3. ^ "apex predator". PBS. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  4. ^ Fernicola, Twelve Days of Terror
  5. ^ "Summer of the Shark". Time. July 30, 2001. Archived from the original on July 24, 2001. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 

External links


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