Wikimedia portal / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Welcome to the shark portal

Welcome to the shark portal!
Welcome to the shark portal!

Sharks are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. Modern sharks are classified within the clade Selachimorpha (or Selachii) and are the sister group to the Batoidea (rays and kin). Some sources extend the term "shark" as an informal category including extinct members of Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish) with a shark-like morphology, such as hybodonts. Shark-like chondrichthyans such as Cladoselache and Doliodus first appeared in the Devonian Period (419–359 million years), though some fossilized chondrichthyan-like scales are as old as the Late Ordovician (458–444 million years ago). The oldest modern sharks (selachimorphs) are known from the Early Jurassic, about 200 million years ago.

Sharks range in size from the small dwarf lanternshark (Etmopterus perryi), a deep sea species that is only 17 centimetres (6.7 in) in length, to the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the largest fish in the world, which reaches approximately 12 metres (40 ft) in length. They are found in all seas and are common to depths up to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). They generally do not live in freshwater, although there are a few known exceptions, such as the bull shark and the river shark, which can be found in both seawater and freshwater. Sharks have a covering of dermal denticles that protects their skin from damage and parasites in addition to improving their fluid dynamics. They have numerous sets of replaceable teeth.

Several species are apex predators, which are organisms that are at the top of their food chain. Select examples include the tiger shark, blue shark, great white shark, mako shark, thresher shark, and hammerhead shark. (Full article...)

Selected article - show another

A finetooth shark
The finetooth shark, Carcharhinus isodon, is a species of requiem shark, family Carcharhinidae, found in the western Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina to Brazil. It forms large schools in shallow, coastal waters and migrates seasonally following warm water. A relatively small, slender-bodied shark, the finetooth shark can be identified by its needle-like teeth, dark blue-gray dorsal coloration, and long gill slits. It attains a maximum length of 1.9 m (6.2 ft). The diet of this species consists primarily of small bony fishes, in particular menhaden. Like other members of its family, it is viviparous in reproduction; every other year, females give birth to 26 pups in estuarine nursery areas. The finetooth shark is important to the gillnet shark fishery operating off the southeastern United States; the meat is sold for human consumption. Its population has not yet been depleted, but the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has determined that fishing is occurring at unsustainable levels.

Did you know (auto-generated)



Category puzzle
Category puzzle
Select [►] to view subcategories


Selected picture - show another

Credit: Didier Descouens
The jaw of a shortfin mako shark. The species feeds mainly upon cephalopods, bony fishes including mackerel, tuna, bonito, and swordfish, but it may also eat other sharks, porpoises, sea turtles, and seabirds.

More Did you know? - show different entries

General images

The following are images from various shark-related articles on Wikipedia.


Carcharhiniformes (groundsharks) · Cladoselachiformes (extinct) · Eugeneodontida (extinct) · Heterodontiformes (bullhead sharks) · Hexanchiformes (most primitive sharks) · Hybodontiformes (extinct) · Iniopterygia (extinct) · Lamniformes (mackerel sharks) · Orectolobiformes (carpet sharks and relatives) · Pristiophoriformes (sawsharks and relatives) · Squaliformes (gulper sharks, bramble sharks, lantern sharks, rough sharks, sleeper sharks, dogfish sharks and relatives) · Squatiniformes (angel sharks) · Symmoriida (extinct) · Xenacanthida (also known as Xenacantiformes, extinct)

Shark biology

Shark-human interaction

Cscr-featured.png See also Symbol_support_vote.svg


The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:


    Discover Wikipedia using portals