Types of Sharks

Types of sharks
With over four hundred species of sharks, it is not really possible to list all types but, you'll certainly find a list of some of the well-known species of these predators...
Catfish With His Mouth Open
Shark (under) Attack!
38 million sharks are killed each year for their fins. In stark contrast, there have been 1333 reported deaths (International Shark Attack File) due to shark attacks in 432 years!
Sharks, the undisputed champion predators of the sea, have fascinated humans since times immemorial. They are superior beings and are a lot smarter than we tend to give them credit for. These creatures have ruled the seas ever since the time of the dinosaurs, and have changed little, if at all since. But the very existence of these amazing creatures is threatened by man and his 'care a damn' about nature attitude. The many movies over the years that have portrayed them in a bad light as monsters haven't helped their cause either.

Here's a peep into their world, as we look at the many popular, and often infamous sharks that inhabit our water bodies.
Sharks can be broadly classified into 8 orders, by their distinct physical and behavioral patterns.
  • Carcharhiniformes
  • Lamniformes
  • Squaliformes
  • Orectolobiformes
  • Heterodontiformes
  • Hexanchiformes
  • Squatiniformes
  • Pristiophoriformes
Carcharhiniformes(Third Eye Blind!)
Hammer shark hunting
Carcharhiniformes are the largest order of sharks. They have distinct physical features, which include two dorsal fins, an anal fin, five gill slits, and nictitating eyelids. They are often called Ground Sharks. They also have the most varied types of sharks, ranging right from catsharks to blue sharks.

Habitat
- Deepwater slopes, coastal marine waters
Family- 8
Species- 270
The Famous Four
Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
Tiger Shark
Average Size- 10 to 14 feet
Distribution- Western Pacific Ocean (Japan and New Zealand), South Pacific Ocean (Gulf of Mexico, North and South America), and Indian Ocean (India, China, Africa, Hong Kong, and Australia)
Die - Fishes, crustaceans, mollusks, jellyfish, dugongs, seabirds, sea snakes, dolphins, and sea turtles
Status- Near Threatened.
Pygmy Ribbontail Catshark (Eridacnis radcliffei)
Average Size- 6 inches to 1 foot
Distribution- Indo-Pacific Ocean (Tanzania, Gulf of Eden, Gulf of Mannar, Bay of Bengal, Andaman Islands, Vietnam, and the Philippines)
Diet- Small bony fishes, crustaceans, and squid
Status- Least Concern
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Magnificent Catshark (Proscyllium magnificum)
Average Size- 1 to 1 ½ feet
Distribution- Andaman Sea (Off Myanmar)
Diet- Small bony fishes and crustaceans
Status- Unknown
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna lewini)
Hammerhead Shark
The hammerhead shark uses its unique head to pin down and attack its prey, usually stingrays to the ocean floor.

Average Size- 12 to 14 feet
Distribution- Worldwide (Except for the Arctic Ocean and most of the South Pacific Ocean)
Diet- Small fishes, cephalopods, and smaller sharks
Status- Endangered 
SHARK BYTES
  • The odds of drowning at sea as opposed to becoming a shark bait is 1 to 1000.
  • You stand 1 in 300 million chance of getting killed by a shark. The chances of getting struck by lightning are a lot higher at 1 in 600,000
Meet The Family
Blacknose Shark
Spinner Shark
Galapagos Shark
Blotched Catshark
Daggernose Shark
Night Shark
Lamniformes(Wide Eyed)
Great white hunting
Lamniformes have two dorsal fins and an anal fin. They have five gill slits and no nictitating eyelids. Their mouth is behind their eyes. These sharks are known to be extremely hardy and have adapted to some of the most adverse of conditions.

Habitat - Continental and insular planes
Family- 9 
Species- 16
The Famous Four
Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
Great White Shark
Great Whites can leap as high as 10 feet in the air to grab their prey right out of the water.

Average Size - 12 to 14 feet
Distribution - Indian Ocean (South Africa, Japan, and Australia) and Atlantic Ocean (United States and Mediterranean Sea)
Diet - Tuna, smaller sharks, dolphins, whales, seals, sea lions, sea turtles, sea otters, and sea birds
StatusVulnerable
Sand Tiger Sharks (Carcharias taurus)
Average Size- 8 to 10 feet
Distribution- Atlantic Ocean (Northern America) and Indian Ocean (Japan, Australia, and South Africa)
Diet- Small fishes, small sharks, rays, crustaceans, and bluefin tuna
Status- Vulnerable
Pelagic Thresher (Alopias pelagicus)
Average Size- 9 to 10 feet
Distribution- Indian and Pacific Oceans (South Africa, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, China, Japan, northwestern Australia, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Hawaiian Islands, the Gulf of California, and the Galapagos Islands)
Diet- Small fishes, Barracudas, light fishes, and escolars
Status- Vulnerable
Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus)
Average Size- 20 to 26 feet
Distribution- Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (South Africa, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Canada and the United States)
Diet- Zooplankton, small fishes, and invertebrates
Status- Vulnerable
SHARK BYTES
  • Sharks come in all sizes, right from the dwarf shark that is as small as your hand, to the whale shark that can be as large as a school bus!
  • Sharks really relish their food. After a big meal, they can go without food for up to three months.
Meet The Family
Goblin
Goblin Shark
Thresher shark
Thresher Shark
Porbeagle shark
Shortfin mako shark
Basking shark
Megalodon tooth
Squaliformes(Snub Nose)
Smooth lantern shark
Squaliformes are amongst the smallest order of sharks. Their physical features include two dorsal fins, with spines along the length of their body. They have no anal fin and nictitating eyelids are absent. They mostly rule the deep seas and some even display bioluminescence. They are amongst the most commonly found species of sharks.

Habitat- Worldwide (polar, tropical waters, shallow coastal seas, and open oceans)
Family- 7
Species- 97
The Famous Four
Velvet Belly Lantern Shark (Etmopterus spinax)
Velvetbelly lantern shark
It is believed that lantern sharks use the bioluminescence of their underbelly to interact with each other.

Average Size
- 1 to 1 ½ feet
Distribution- Atlantic Ocean (Iceland, Norway, Gabon, and South Africa)
Diet- Small bony fishes, crustaceans, and squid
Status- Least Concern
Taillight Shark (Euprotomicroides zantedeschia)
Average Size- 1 to 1 ½ feet
Distribution- South Atlantic Ocean (South Africa and Uruguay)
Diet- Large fishes
Status- Data Deficient
Kitefin Shark (Dalatias licha)
Average Size- 3 ½ to 4 ½ feet
Distribution- Eastern Pacific Ocean (Japan, Java, Australia, New Zealand, and the Hawaiian Islands), Indian Ocean (South Africa and Mozambique), Northern Atlantic (Georges Bank, Northern Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, Cameroon and the Mediterranean Sea)
Diet- Small bony fishes, squid, and crustaceans
Status- Near Threatened
Pygmy Shark (Euprotomicrus bispinatus)
Average Size- 6 inches to 1 foot
Distribution- Atlantic Ocean (Bermuda, United States, Suriname, and southern Brazil), Indian Ocean (Somalia), and Pacific Ocean (Southern Japan, Taiwan, and Philippines)
Diet- Small fishes and crustaceans
Status- Least Concern
SHARK BYTES
  • Some sharks can detect light that is ten times dimmer than the dimmest light an average person can see. No wonder you don't see any sharks wearing glasses!
  • Sharks can be trained. But you might not get them to fetch the newspaper just yet!
Meet The Family
Cookiecutter shark
Cuban dogfish
Spiny dogfish
Orectolobiformes(First Eat then See!)
Zebra or Leopard Shark
Orectolobiformes have a very distinct and unique pattern of design on their body. They have two dorsal fins and no spines along the body. There usually are a lot of barbels around their mouth. Their mouth cavity is located in front of the eyes. They also have five-gill slits (4 properly formed and 1 usually not completely formed). Because of the various patterns on their body, they are also called Carpet Sharks.

Habitat- Moderate depths of continental and insular shelves
Family- 7
Species- 43
The Famous Four
Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)
Whale Shark
Average Size- 36 to 39 feet
Distribution- World Over (except the Arctic Ocean)
Diet- Macro-algae, plankton, krill, Christmas Island red crab larvae, and small squid and vertebrates
Status- Vulnerable
Zebra or Leopard Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)
Leopard Shark
Leopard sharks suck in their prey by expanding their buccal cavity.

Average Size
- 8 to 10 feet
Distribution- Indo-Pacific Ocean (South Africa - the Red Sea, Madagascar and Maldives, India, Southeast Asia, Japan, and northern Australia)
Diet- Small bony fishes, crustaceans, and sea snakes
Status- Vulnerable
Nurse Shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum)
Nurse Shark
Average Size- 12 to 14 feet
Distribution- Atlantic Ocean (Rhode Island - southern Brazil, Cameroon - Gabon), Eastern Pacific Ocean (Southern Baja California- Peru, Caribbean Islands)
Diet- Crustaceans, molluscs, tunicates, sea snakes, and other fishes
Status- Data Deficient
Arabian Carpetshark (Chiloscyllium arabicum)
Average Size- 2 to 3 feet
Distribution- Indian Ocean (Persian Gulf - Pakistan and western India)
Diet- Small bony fishes and invertebrates
Status- Near Threatened
SHARK BYTES
  • Just like the rings on a tree tell us its age, the rings on the vertebra of the shark reveal the age of the sharks.
  • Bee stings kill more people than shark attacks!
Meet the Family
Tawny Nurse Shark
Tawny Nurse Shark
Leopard Shark
Leopard Shark
Heterodontiformes(Thorny Affair!)
Heterodentiformes hunting
Heterodontiformes have two distinct dorsal fins and have fin spines along the length of their body. They also have an anal fin and five gill slits. They have a unique layout of teeth, and a very peculiar skull, which gives them the 'bull-like' look.
Habitat- Shallow to moderate continental and insular waters
Family- 1
Species- 9
The Famous Four
Horn Shark (Heterodontus francisci)
Average Size- 3 to 3 ½ feet
Distribution- Western Pacific Ocean (Japan and New Zealand), South Pacific Ocean (the Gulf of Mexico, North and South America), Indian Ocean (India, China, Africa, Hong Kong and Australia)
Diet- Small bony fishes and invertebrates
Status- Data Deficient
Crested Bullhead Shark
Hungry bull shark
The bull shark is the only shark that can live in both fresh and salt water.

Average Size- 3 to 4 feet
Distribution- South Pacific Ocean (Eastern Coast of Australia)
Diet- Small fishes, sea urchins, and small invertebrates
Status- Least Concern
Port Jackson Shark (Heterodontus portusjacksoni)
Average Size- 5 to 5 ½ feet
Distribution- South Pacific Ocean (North Eastern Victoria - Western Australia, and Southern Queensland - New South Wales)
Diet- Hard-shelled mollusks, crustaceans, sea urchins, and small fishes
Status- Least Concern
Japanese Bullhead Shark (Heterodontus japonicus)
Average Size- 3 to 4 feet
Distribution- North Pacific Ocean (Japan to Korean Peninsula and China - Taiwan)
Diet- Crustaceans, mollusks, sea urchins, and small fishes
Status- Least Concern
SHARK BYTES
  • Juvenile lemon sharks eat less than 2% of their body weight per day. The adorable hamster in our homes eats about 10% of its body weight!
  • You could look into the eyes of sharks but they'd never blink!
Meet The Family
Horn Shark
Bull Shark
Bull Shark
Hexanchiformes(One Fin Wonder!)
Shark
Hexanchiformes have one dorsal fin and six to seven gill slits. Also, they have no nictitating eyelids. Their physical features are unlike any other order of sharks. They are called frilled sharks or cow sharks. Very little is known about this order, as they inhabit the deepest of the seas.
Habitat- Outer continent shelves, island shelves, and upper slopes
Family- 2
Species- 6
The Famous Four
Frilled Shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus)
Frilled shark
It is believed that the Loch Ness Monster might actually be a different species of the extremely rare Frilled Shark.

Average Size
- 4 to 5 feet
Distribution- Atlantic Ocean (Norway, northern Scotland, western Ireland, France - Morocco, New England, Georgia, and Suriname), Pacific Ocean (Japan, Taiwan, New South Wales, Australia, and New Zealand)
Diet- Cephalopods, bony fishes, and smaller sharks
Status- Near Threatened
Sharpnose Sevengill Shark (Heptranchias perlo)
Average Size- 2 to 4 feet
Distribution- Atlantic Ocean (North Carolina - Cuba, Gulf of Mexico, and Venezuela - Argentina, Morocco - Namibia and the Mediterranean Sea), Indian Ocean (Southwestern India, Aldabra Islands, southern Mozambique, and South Africa), Pacific Ocean (Japan-China, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, and northern Chile)
Diet- Teleosts, cephalopods, cartilaginous fishes, and crustaceans
Status- Near Threatened
Bluntnose Sixgill Shark (Hexanchus griseus)
Average Size- 12 to 13 feet
Distribution- Atlantic Ocean (United States, Argentina, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba, Iceland, Norway, Namibia, and the Mediterranean Sea), Indian Ocean (Madagascar and Mozambique), and Pacific Ocean (Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the Hawaiian Islands)
Diet- Small bony fishes and crustaceans
Status- Near Threatened
Bigeyed Sixgill Shark(Hexanchus nakamurai)
Average Size- 12 to 14 feet
Distribution- Worldwide (Except for the Arctic Ocean and most of the South Pacific Ocean)
Diet- Small fishes, cephalopods, and smaller sharks
Status - Unknown  
SHARK BYTES
  • The great white shark is not white. It's only its bottom that is white, most of its body is black!
  • Sharks use up to 20,000 teeth in a lifetime. Humans, on the other hand, make do with 52!
Meet The Family
Bluntnose sixgill
Squatiniformes(Size Zero!)
Dead monkfish
Squatiniformes have a peculiar flat body structure, very much like rays. They have broad pectoral fins, and their pelvic fins have an angular shape. They do not have an anal fin. More often than not they lie submerged in the seabed, waiting for their next meal to come by. Although they look very similar to rays, angel sharks are not related to them.
Habitat- Temperate and tropical seas
Family- 1
Species- 13
The Famous Four
Sawback Angel Shark (Squatina aculeata)
The angel shark blends in (thanks to its brilliantly camouflaged body) with its surroundings and waits for its prey to come to it.

Average Size
- 3 to 4 feet
Distribution- Eastern Atlantic, Western Mediterranean (Morocco, Senegal, Guinea, Nigeria, Gabon, and Angola)
Diet- Small sharks, bony fishes, cuttlefish, and crustaceans
Status- Critically Endangered
African Angel Shark (Squatina africana)
Average Size- 2 to 3 feet
Distribution- Western Indian Ocean (East and South Africa - Mozambique, Tanzania, and Madagascar)
Diet- Small bony fishes, squid, octopuses, and shrimps
Status- Data Deficient
Eastern Australian Angel Shark (Squatina albipunctata)
Average Size- 2 to 3 feet
Distribution- Pacific Ocean (Eastern Australia - Cairns, Queensland, Lake Entrance, and Lake Victoria)
Diet- Bony fishes, crustaceans, and cephalopods
Status- Vulnerable
Pacific Angelshark (Squatina californica)
Average Size- 4 to 5 feet
Distribution- Eastern Pacific Ocean (Alaska - Gulf of California, Ecuador - Chile)
Diet- Bony fishes and squid
Status- Near Threatened
SHARK BYTES
  • Sharks attack more men than women. There is no scientific explanation for this till date.
  • If you pass by a shark and feel that it is resting, you might still want to stay away. Sharks don't sleep like humans and when they appear to be sleeping, they are merely resting.
Meet The Family
Raw Angler Fish
Raw Angler Fish
Atlantic angel shark
Atlantic angel shark
Pristiophoriformes(Pinocchio-esque!)
Sword shark
Pristiophoriformes have a distinct flat snout with razor-sharp teeth on the sides. They have two dorsal fins & no anal fin. There are whisker-like extensions (barbels) by the center of their snout. Very little is known about these sharks as their spotting is very rare. Although they are distantly related, sawsharks & sawfishes aren't the same; Sawsharks are sharks, while sawfishes are rays.
Habitat- Moderate depths on continental shelves and upper slopes (usually muddy water)
Family- 1
Species- 6
The Famous Four
Longnose Sawshark (Pristiophorus cirratus)
Sawfish use their razor-sharp saw-like teeth to slash at their prey and shred it before devouring it.

Average Size
- 4 to 5 feet
Distribution - Indian Ocean (Southern Australia)
Diet- Small fishes and crustaceans
Status- Least Concern
Tropical Sawshark (Pristiophorus delicatus)
Average Size- 2 to 2 ½ feet
Distribution- Northwestern Australia (Queensland)
Diet- Small bony fishes, crustaceans, and squid
Status- Least Concern
Japanese Sawshark (Pristiophorus japonicus)
Average Size- 4 to 5 feet
Distribution- Pacific Ocean (Japan, Korea, and Northern China)
Diet- Small fishes and crustaceans
Status- Data Deficient
Shortnose Sawshark (Pristiophorus nudipinnis)
Average Size - 3 to 4 feet
Distribution- Pacific Ocean (east coast of Australia)
Diet- Small fishes and crustaceans
Status- Least Concern
SHARK BYTES
  • Sharks have a very keen sense of smell. They would be able to smell one drop of blood in an entire Olympic swimming pool full of water!
  • You think dogs have sharp ears, A shark can hear a fish in the water from more than a mile away!
Meet The Family
Sawshark preying
Seesaw shark swimming
Sharks are magnificent creatures that have ruled the seas for ages, right from the time of the dinosaurs. They are under serious threat of extinction because of our greed and indiscriminate hunting. We might claim to be sitting pretty right on top of the food chain, but what we are absolutely ignorant about is the fact that without the building blocks that make up our food pyramid, even the ones right on top are going to come crashing down to doom. This world of ours is a beautiful place and can satisfy every need of ours but not our greed. It's up to each one of us to step in and save this wonderful planet that we call our home.