What ?

There are over 450 different species of shark. We're going to look at a few here and now. We'll look at some of Sharkyjones' cartoon friends and some photos of their real world images.

Here we'll talk about some of the different types of shark and their different families. Some sharks don't even look like what most people think a shark looks like.

Sharks are fish, they are a type of fish called "chondricthyes" or "cartilaginous" fish. This group includes Sharks, rays and a group of fish called Chimaera, none of the fish in this group have any bones, instead they have cartilage, click here to find out more about types of fish.

There are 8 orders (types) of shark. We'll look at these now, in another part we'll look at their relatives and where they fit into the entire grouping of the animal kingdom.

Each of the 8 orders of sharks have their own adaptations to their environment. The 8 types of shark are :

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Sharks come in many shapes and sizes. Here are some of SharkyJones' friends, you can meet all his friends by clicking on the "Who" button on the left.

-What types of Sharks are there?

There are more than 450 types of Shark!



Move the mouse around and see if there are any explanations. Some of the terms will be explained, have I gotten around yet to linking them ? I don't look around the diagram (& the page) and see! Sometimes there are hidden links!!!

Remember I said some of these guys wouldn't look like your normal image of a shark? I was right!

This is Gabe, he's an Angel shark of the order Squatiniforme,=>

His body is flattenned like that of a ray and he doesn't have an anal fin (don't laugh, its a technical scientific term, this is a fin down by his backside). He's from California and the cold waters of the West coast of the USA.

Anyway, Gabe looks much more like a ray than a shark, but he is in fact a shark. There are several sharks that look like rays and several rays that look like sharks!

This is Will, he's a sawshark of the order pristiophoriforme =>

He has a long nose called a "rostrum" he uses it to catch fish, we'll talk more about Will and his Cousin Bill later.



<===This is "Donti" he's a horn shark also from California (Heterodonti Francisci). He's of the order "heterodontiform" there are a lot of cousins of his that look similar around the world, especially in Australia e.g. (Port Jackson Shark - heterodontus jacksoni). He's pretty small about 3 ft, a few get to 5 ft, most are about 2ft.


He has a funny shaped head, but most prominent are the spines in front of the fins.

Donti (horn shark) and Gabe (Angel Shark) don't get on very well. Gabe eats smaller fish and occasionally he tries to eat horn sharks. Gabe uses his flat body to hide under the sand, as a small fish such as Donti passes out he grabs it in his huge mouth. However the spines stick in Gabe's throat and he has to let go.

So none of those guys looks quite like we'd expect a shark to look like. Most peoples' idea of a shark comes from the film "Jaws", the shark in the film was a Great White Shark. Like the guy below :

This is "Crunch", he's a Great White Shark, of the order Lamniforme.

He's exactly what most people expect a shark to look like.

He's a big open water shark, in fact Great Whites are the third largest fish in the world and the Largest predatory fish in the world.

Below him is "Munch" a Mako shark who's also from the order "Lamniforme" Both these guys are close cousins.

The other order of sharks that is even more the "typical" shark is the order "Carcharhiniform", they are "typical" sharks because their order is the biggest and many look very similar to each other

<===This is "Chomp", he's a Tiger Shark, he's also a very big shark, he can grow to almost 20ft. He's of the order "Carcharhiniforme", the are over 300 different species in this order, its the biggest order of sharks. Sharks in this order can be found from right up to the beach in warm waters to the deepest seas in cold waters and everywhere in between.

<===This is "Tri" he's a Whitetip Reef Shark, he's usually about 4ft-7ft,

He's very thin and flexible, he can sleep on the bottom without moving during the day and often comes out to hunt in all the small holes in the reef. He's also of the order Carcharhiniform.

So you can see sharks come in all shapes and sizes, we've seen a little of how different sharks have adapted to different lifestyles (we explore this in detail in another page) and how they fit in to the tree of life. We've also seen that they have close cousins , rays (more later).


Most important we've see there are over 450 types of shark that fit into the 8 orders of shark and there are many differences.


This is enough for now, we'll meet in more detail more of SharkyJones' friends and food in other pages, we'll also have a shark species guide looking at many more.

Follow the diagram through from left to right for each branch and you'll understand better the differences that seperate these sharks


8 Orders of sharks further subdivided into 34 families

Carcharhiniform - Also known as whaler or requiem sharks - The most common 215 species

Lamniform - 7 families, 16 species including the great white

Squatiniform - 1 family - 15 species - flattened sharks

Pristiophoriform - 1family - Sawsharks, 5 species

Heterodontiform - 1 family 8 species - spines on their dorsal fins

Hexanchiform - 6 or 7 gill slits, mostly cold/deepwater sharks

Squaliforme - Large and varied 94 species, mostly smallish sharks

Orectolobiform - Also known as carpet sharks - 7 families 37 species, tropical bottom dwellers

We've seen the families that sharks are divided into. In other pages we'll look at who sharkyjones' friends are, you'll see some of the characters of the shark world, their species names, their families and what they look like. Click on the "what" icon (below) to come back to the "what" page, then click on the other questions related to "What kind of sharks are there".










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What is a shark ?


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