Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crocodile Shark

Pseudocarcharias kamoharai
Our final Shark of the week is the Crocodile Shark, a small Mackerel Shark  that can be found in tropical  oceans all around the world. They are the smallest members of their Order, which also contains giants like the Great White and Megamouth Sharks.

Crocodile Sharks grow to lengths of up to 3ft, and can be identified by their slender bodies, large eyes, long gill slits and small dorsal fin. Their large eyes help them to hunt at night, and they also posses a very large liver (up to 1/5 their entire body weight) that helps them to maintain a very neutral buoyancy. The species undergoes daily migrations, moving from deep waters during the day to more shallow hunting grounds at night.

Crocodile Sharks are another one of those interesting Ovoviviparous species. And even more intriguing is that they have litters of 4 pups... two in each uterus. This is a trait not especially common in sharks-- most others have only one pup per uterus.

Because of their small size, Crocodile Sharks are not generally considered dangerous to humans. Man-made structures however? That's a while different story! Back in 1985 AT&T laid down the first deep sea fiber optic cable. The cable was shorting out, and expensive repairs were needed to fix it. Turns out that a bunch of Crocodile Sharks were attracted to the new installation and were biting it!

IUCN Status : Near Threatened
Location : Tropical Oceans Worldwide
Size : Length up to 3.3ft (1m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Chondrichthyes -- Order : Lamniformes
Family : Pseudocarchariidae -- Genus : Pseudocarcharias -- Species : P. kamoharai

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