Basking Sharks

Did you know Basking Sharks can swim as fast and jump out of the water as high as White Sharks do, if they so choose?

Basking Sharks are a very distinctive shark species Cetorhinus maximusthat grow grow more than 10 meters large often seen filter-feeding at the surface. They still are a poorly known but highly migratory plankton-feeder. Their huge oil-filled liver provides them buoyancy. Formerly taken by target harpoon and nets primarily fot its liver oil and fins in much of its temperate water range, the Basking Sharks are nowadays widely protected through fisheries regulations and international agreements like CITES Appendix II, CMS Appendix II, Bern Convention, OSPAR and GFCM among others (Ebert and Fowler, 2014).

As it is commonly known the great White Sharks are known to jump out of the water – or breach – to capture agile seals and otters. By comparison, the peaceful Basking Sharks eat mostly zooplankton that drift into their 1 metre wide “megamouths”. They are also much larger than the great whites, so it’s a mystery why they would expand effort on breaching. But for some reason, they do (Yvaine Ye, New Scientist of 12 September 2018).

(Photo by Youen Jacob)

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Journal reference: Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0537

Arabian Carpetshark

The Arabian Carpetsharks, also known, in the Arabian Sea Region, as Arabian Bamboo Sharks, Chiloscyllium arabicum, are small and elegant sharks that can achieve up to one meter length, and their skin is of a rare golden colour.

From their biology, it is known they birth with aproximately 10 cm lenght, and that they mature between 45 and 55cm. Arabian Bamboo Sharks are oviparous that lay up to four egg-cases on coral reefs, with hatching after 70 to 80 days. They feed on squid (Loliginidae), shelled molluscs (Gastropoda), crustaceans, and snake eels (Ophichthidae).

Arabian Bamboo Sharks – occur from 3m to 100m deep. So when diving, we can found them in very shallow waters, from mangrove estuaries, to coral reefs, coral lagoons and rocky shores. Although, to some extend, it is taken as bycatch mostly in trawls and stake nets; it is usually discarded at sea.

According with the IUCN Red List, this shark species is assessed as NT (Near Threatened), because they are at risk of losing their coral reef habitats in some parts of the Gulf.

This is why it deserves the creation of specific new Marine Protected Areas in the Persian Gulf. Before it's too late, please!

Smoothhound shark

The smoothhound (Mustelus mustelus) is a houndshark species most commonly found in the North Eastern Atlantic, around the Canary Islands but which can also be seen swimming in demersal waters of the Mediterranean, and from the British Isles to the coasts of South Africa.

Indeed, the smoothhound is a small shark of the Triakidae family, one of the largest families of shark species with almost 50 species distributed among the temperate and tropical waters of all the coastal seas.

In adults, smoothhound females can measure lengths of more than 160cm and males around 110cm (Ebert and Fowler, 2014). It is estimated that their life expectancy can reach 24 years (Goosen and Smale, 1997) and their reproductive maturity is reached around 10 years of life.

Its reproduction is of the viviparous type with placenta of yolk sac (that is to say it is born like the mammals but without umbilical cord). In fact, after a gestation period of 9 to 11 months, females give birth to between 4 and 18 offspring, being thus the largest females have significantly larger litters, and their size at birth varies between 34 and 42cm (Saïdi et al, 2008).