Today’s FOTD is about the beautiful zebra shark. These sharks get their name from the impressive stripes found on the juveniles.
As they grow into adulthood, these stripes change into spots, which is why this shark is occasionally also called the leopard shark. (Taxonomists even originally thought that juvenile zebra sharks were actually a different species than the adult zebra sharks because their markings are so different!)
As you know, Oceana is a partner in Discovery’s Shark Week this year. Meanwhile, Discovery is a partner of this summer’s X-Games, so they asked artists to design and paint shark-themed skateboard decks to display at their X-Games tent.
The results are beautiful, and you can now bid on the skateboard decks online. The proceeds go directly to Oceana to help our shark conservation efforts.
There are some really cool ones -- check ‘em out!
Today’s FOTD is brought to you by the letter C, which is for cookie…and cookiecutter shark.
Unlike most of the other sharks I’ve written about so far, the cookiecutter shark is a relatively small shark; they only reach about 20 inches in length. Like some other sharks, such as great white sharks, female cookiecutters are larger than their male counterparts.
Despite their small size, these sharks still have quite a bite. They latch onto their prey and create suction with their large lips. Then they use their powerful jaws and many teeth to carve a circular chunk of flesh out of the unlucky victim. (Get it? Like a carnivorous, marine cookiecutter?)
Cookiecutter sharks attack large fish like tuna or even whales and dolphins; the prey usually survives the attack but the telltale round scar remains. They are also bioluminescent; they have a patch on their bellies that glows in the dark, deep waters where they live. They use their bioluminescence to attract potential prey.
See you tomorrow for another shark FOTD and I hope you’re enjoying Shark Week as much as I am!
You asked for it so here it is: a FOTD on the sandtiger shark!
Sandtiger sharks go by many names including the ragged-tooth shark and the gray nurse shark. When unprovoked, these sharks are fairly docile, despite their frightening appearance.
Female sandtiger sharks give birth to two live pups, one from each of their two uteri. Because of the relatively small litter size, sandtiger shark populations have a particularly slow growth rate and it takes them a long time to recover from population decreases.
Shark Week started last night! (And how great was ‘Ultimate Air Jaws?!”)
Oceana is a partner in Shark Week this year, and it’s my favorite week of the year, so I’m going to keep the celebration going with daily shark facts!
The scalloped hammerhead shark is just one of the many species of hammerhead shark, all of which have the characteristic t-shaped head.
Only one more week until Shark Week!
So in preparation for the upcoming shark fest, today we will talk about the basking shark. Basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world. (Pop quiz - what is the largest fish in the world? I’ll give you a hint: I have already written a FOTD about this kind of shark.)
These sharks are filter feeders so they just swim around with their mouths open, collecting plankton and other tiny creatures while filtering out hundreds of thousands of gallons of water every hour. The water is filtered through the shark’s characteristically large gill slits on the sides of its head.
Check out Oceana.org/Explore for more shark info and see you tomorrow for another FOTD!
Oceana board member Ted Danson was on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson a few nights ago, and after they discussed, among other things, Larry David’s germophobia, they bantered about the oceans.
Ferguson, who is hosting Discovery’s Shark Week starting August 1, recently swam with sharks in the Caribbean. He also made a shark PSA for us -- stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, watch their ocean banter:
Hello, shark fans!
While I generally don’t take advice from 30 Rock’s Tracy Morgan, I do try to “live every week like it’s Shark Week.” But as you may know, the real Shark Week starts August 1 and this year Oceana is an official partner with Discovery, so get ready for even more shark-filled fun and conservation.
I’ve been excited for weeks now so when I ran into the “What Kind of Shark Are You?” quiz on Discovery’s website, I had to check it out. After answering the 10 questions I discovered that I am…a great white shark!
What kind of shark are you? Take the quiz and let us know your results!
And to learn more about your shark alter ego, head to Oceana.org/Explore.
The tawny nurse shark is a nocturnal shark, swimming and hunting during the night and returning to the same location to rest during the day. These bottom-dwelling sharks typically look for small overhangs, caves or other slightly protected areas as their resting grounds and occasionally even rest in groups. Tawny nurse sharks are known to be docile and generally ignore humans unless provoked.
Our friends at Oceans4Ever are hosting the first ever Summer Sharktakular this week, along with shark blogger extraordinare, David Shiffman. David wrote this guest post for us about the threats facing sharks in the Gulf. Be sure to check out the rest of the Sharktakular this week! - Emily
Many threats facing sharks, such as bycatch and finning, are well known to conservationists. Less well known, but just as serious to some species, are the threats to sharks from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sharks can come into direct contact with oil on the surface, which appears to be happening to whale sharks. These threatened animals, the largest fish in the sea, feed by filtering plankton out of the water. In other words, they swim with their mouths open near the surface, which is a surefire recipe to ingest floating oil.
The estuaries of the northern Gulf are important nurseries for a variety of smaller shark species. Newborn sharks use the shallow waters, safe from predators and full of food, as a safe place to grow up. Oil has reached many of these estuaries, with unknown (but undoubtedly bad) long-term effects on the species that use them. Entire year-classes of some populations may die as their nursery grounds become poisoned.