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Shark Terminology




Terms Menu :: Terms 1 A-D :: Terms 2 E-L :: Terms 3 M-Z ::


Elasmobranch:
A classification of cartilagenic fish such as Sharks, Skates, Rays and Chimaeras.


Exsanguination:
The process of slowly bleeding to death from a fatal wound.


Gestation:
The amount of time that a female shark carries either her fertilized eggs or her pups prior to birth.


Gills:
The organ found in fish that allows oxygen to be extracted from the water, allowing the fish to breathe.  


Gill Arches:
These are cartilaginous curved bars that support the gills.


Gill Rakers:
Bristly structures in the mouth used to “rake” through water taken into the mouth,
trapping small organisms to be consumed. These are found primarily in the Basking Shark that feeds on microorganisms such as plankton.


Gill Slits:
Vertical openings normally found just behind the eye. These are where water is allowed
to pass from the mouth through the gills and out the gill slits, thus bringing oxygen to the shark. They also protect the gills. (See: Dermal Denticles in the Shark School)


Lateral Line:
The lateral line is fluid filled canal that runs along the shark on both sides from head to
tail. It is pressure sensitive and allows the shark to feel pressure changes in the water. Swimming prey will create these pressure changes and vibrations (especially injured fish and pinnipeds) that the shark can feel from a great distance thanks to its lateral line.
The actual distance varies depending upon each shark species.  


Live Bearer:
This refers to a Non-oviparous shark. Meaning a shark that gives birth to live shark pups
as apposed to laying eggs. Some live bearing sharks literally “hatch” the eggs internally before giving birth. (See “ovoviviparous" on the next page.)   


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