Today’s Underrated Elasmobranch is commonly misidentified as a bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) due to its ability to survive in freshwater environments such as rivers. The ganges shark (Glyphis gangeticus) was first identified in the Ganges River but can be found all over the Indo-West Pacific.
They can reach up to lengths of 6.7 ft (2.04 m). These sharks are considered potentially harmful to humans due to their size, large teeth, and the close proximity to humans, however this ranking may be skewed due to how often they are confused with bull sharks. According to the IUCN Red List, the ganges shark is critically endangered (2007).
The next Underrated Elasmobranch in this series is the Finless sleeper ray (Temera hardwickii). We’ve highlighted sleeper rays in the past for their ability to emit strong electrical currents that can be very harmful to any potential predators.
This species is smaller, growing up to only 46 cm ( 1.5 ft) in the oceans of the Indo-Pacific. While there is not too much known about this species, it is thought that they feed on small, bottom-dwelling invertebrates. Females allegedly have 4 pups with each litter.
This species of ray is considered Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List (2004).
The Underrated Elasmobranch Line Up is back for a 3rd year in a row!
First up is a creature that can be found swimming in the shallows of the Eastern Pacific - the horn shark (Heterodontus francisci). They’re named for the dorsal spines located on their first and second dorsal fins that act as protection against potential predators.
Horn sharks are part of the bullhead shark family and can grow up to only 4 ft (1.22 m) in length. They are listed as data-deficient and harmless to humans on the IUCN Species Red List.
Many sharks have long gestation periods, but a female horn shark only carries pups for a few weeks until laying a corkscrew shaped egg case. This special shape allows the egg to remain lodged between rocks or another stable place until it is ready to hatch.
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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