There are over 400 species of sharks. They are the ocean’s top predators even though there are some sharks that are smaller than a lot of the fish you might have seen. Even though sharks or the same animal, the different species have varying diets and behavior. Understanding sharks is very important to understanding the ecosystem of the ocean because they are an essential part of it.
Sharks fall into a subclass of fish called elasmobranchii. Sharks in that subclass have skeletons made from cartilage and 5- 7 gill slits. Even though this may not seem like an important piece of information, other fish have skeletons made from bone and 1 gill on each side of their head. These bills on sharks are used to filter oxygen from the water so that they can breathe. They also are known for their multiple rows of teeth. These impressive teeth fall out and grow back regularly. All sharks have teeth but there’s teeth will be different shapes and sizes. Some sharks have serrated teeth and others have triangular ones.
You can find sharks in many places where there’s bodies of water. You’ll find them in both deep and shallow waters. While they all have habitats that they’re commonly found in, many of them travel vast distances so that they can feed and breed. There are a lot of differences between how these sharks live. Some sharks are solitary species while others are known to be groups. Sharks congregate in large groups to socialize and many scientists are confused about the behaviors of sharks. There are many who are trying to pinpoint how long they live and they can only study a fraction of the shark species.
Unfortunately, sharks are known for human attacks even though humans are not their preferred food. These attacks have increased steadily since the 1900s, but this is likely the result of better recording practices and increasing human populations. Shark attacks are rare and if you’re at the beach you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being attacked by a shark. Shark attacks are commonly seen in horror movies viciously attacking humans, but they only bite people out of curiosity, confusion or defense.
They’re not a significant threat to humans, but many of the things that humans do on Earth are a threat to them. The human population is responsible for the decrease in shark populations globally. The decrease in population is mostly due to overfishing. 100 million sharks are killed each year to supply expensive dishes all over the world. Fisheries catch sharks and then cut off their fins. They dumped him back in the ocean where they bleed out or drown to save space on the boat and avoid surpassing fishing quotas. Even though many fisheries have banned shark fishing, it’s still something that constantly occurs.
Another saying that impacts sharks are rising water temperatures due to coastal developments. Coastal development contributes to the decrease in shark population because they destroy mangroves and coral reefs. These are places that are used for breeding, hunting and protecting young shark pups. This decrease in population is bad for sharks but it’s also bad for ocean health. The top predators of the ocean and their critical for balance in the food web. This is why sharks are very important and should be saved.
There is so much more to sharks than just where they live and how they behave. One of the things that many people have questions about is whether the sharks sleep.
Do Sharks Sleep
It makes sense that sharks sleeping is a very common thing that people are confused about. Although we may see the sleep, it’s not exactly what sharks do. Sleeping might seem like a very human experience, but sharks do not sleep in the same way. They have a variety of different ways of sleeping. For example, some can’t sleep at all and others sleep but never close their eyes. Some shark species do cycle through periods of when they’re alert and awake and resting. That resting period might be what’s very similar to humans’ sleep. Sharks do not dream the way humans and some other animals do.
The reason why they can’t sleep the way humans do is because of their respiratory organs. Sharks breathe through gills. One thing that all of them have in common is the need for a constant flow of water to move through their gills. The water movement is how they get oxygen from the water. Some sharks do this by remaining in motion and these are the sharks that don’t sleep at all. They can stop swimming to use a specialized apparatus known as spiracles that Force oxygen-rich water through their gills, but otherwise they need to swim to keep breathing.
Sharks like Caribbean reef sharks, nurse sharks and lemon sharks lie on the bottom of the ocean and in caves. This isn’t really sleeping. They’re still very much aware when they’re doing this. When observed, they seem to continue watching what’s going on around them so they’re very much awake. It’s just that this is their way of winding down where they’re consuming less energy.
Yo- Yo Swimming
Yo-yo swimming is when sharks actively swim to the surface but rest as they descend down into the ocean. This isn’t exactly sleeping either. This is their way of resting even though they don’t fall into a deep sleep the way humans do.
There’s a lot about sharks sleeping habits that humans don’t know about. A lot of things like dreaming and their awareness isunknown and we can only make some assumptions about what they’re doing. Until more sharks are observed, There are only so many assumptions that humans can make about their sleeping patterns before they accurately understand how they rest.
Respiratory System of Sharks
The main reason why there’s confusion about whether sharks can sleep is because of the respiratory system. Understanding the respiratory system is very important for understanding why they might not sleep the way humans do.
In order to breathe, sharks misused a ram jet ventilation which means they force water into their mouth, throat and eventually out of their gill slits. They do this with powerful console Ford movements. They also put water across their gills while they’re at rest or feeding by using less powerful contractions of their throat and gill muscles. This pushes water through their mouth in it out of the gills in a front-to-back sequence. This coordination is determined by their pharyngobrachial muscle strength.
Sharks have a larger surface area on their gill filaments because they’re very important for gas exchange. The larger bodies of large sharks need a large amount of oxygen to hunt for larger and more active prey. They usually have five gill arches that support a bigger surface area for gas exchange and there’s usually only one row gill filaments on the first arch. There’s also a septum, which has a sheet of muscular connective tissue. They’re located on arches supporting double rows of gill filaments. These gill filaments form a flap over each gill slit and extend past them. The actual site of the gas exchange is the lamellae, which increase the surface area on the gill filament. They have tiny arteries that carry blood in the opposite direction that the water flows.
Will a Shark Die If It Stops Moving
There are over 400 species of shark and they’re pretty diverse. Some of them need to move all of the time and others have different modes of resting. Spiracles are some structures that sharks have to help them breathe while they’re lying on the bottom of the ocean floor. It forces water across the shark’s gills so that they can be still and rest while still getting oxygen. This means that the myths that the shark will die if it stops moving is both true and also false. It will die if it doesn’t get oxygen. If it has a way to be still and still get oxygen, like yo-yo swimming or using their spiracles, then the shark will not die.
What Types of Sharks Sleep
Many sharks that live in the middle regions of the Open Seas Swim all the time and do not sleep. If they are restrained and something then they can experience hypoxia or lack of oxygen. This restraint is what causes them to drown. Marine biologists call sharks who need to swim obligate ram ventilators. “Ram” describes the way that sharks and inhales through open mouths and run water through their gills. Sharks that have to move are also called buccal pumpers. This is because they use their cheek muscles to move water through their gills. They can increase their oxygen levels by swimming faster with their mouths open.
There are a lot of examples of ram ventilating sharks that you probably know about. The great white shark, hammerhead shark, whale shark, megamouth shark, and thresher shark are all obligate ram ventilating sharks. Recent studies show that it’s the spinal cord and not the brain that makes sharks swim. It’s believed that some always moving sharks may experience rest periods where their brains are less active so that they conserve energy.
Sharks that live at the bottom of deep and shallow Seas usually are able to stop moving and remain at rest. This isn’t necessarily sleep, but it is a way for them to stop moving and relax. They usually rest on a coral reef or sandy sea bottom. They do this while they’re wide awake by sinking to the bottom where they sleep while breathing using the spiracles behind their eyes. The Caribbean reef shark, lemon shark, and nurse shark are all popular examples of sharks to sleep while they’re immobile.
Although they’re sleeping patterns are very odd to humans, they sleep in their own way. When they’re not sleeping, you can find sharks in groups socializing or alone hunting for food. A lot of the behavior of sharks go unobserved because oftentimes there in areas of the ocean where humans can’t reach. There are some things about sharks that will remain unknown as long as parts of the ocean remain unobserved, but sometimes that’s for the best.