Sunday, 6 September 2015

Creature 341: Carcharias taurus

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Carcharias taurus is commonly known as the sand tiger shark or the grey nurse shark.

UShaka Sea World 1079-a.jpg

These large sharks can reach up to 3.2 meters long and usually live in large colonies. A feeding frenzy of these sharks can make for a difficult environment for smaller sharks which may struggle to get a fair share of the food. This had led to a fairly common condition in sharks which is called oviviviparity. They develop inside eggs, which are not laid by sit inside a pouch inside the shark. The egg hatches while still inside the pouch. In grey nurse sharks the young hatchlings don't leave immediately as it is useful to them to grow as large as possible before they are required to fend for themselves. After they hatch they consume the other hatchlings inside their mother's pouch. In every brood only one shark will survive after consuming all its siblings.

A sand tiger shark hatchling next to an embryo (the smaller one on the top left). Credit: D.ABERCROMBIE.

Sand tiger sharks can be found in temperate coastal regions all over the world.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: Lamniformes
Family: Odontaspididae
Genus: Carcharias 
Species: Carcharias taurus

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