Q:

Are sharks vertebrates or invertebrates?

A:

Quick Answer

Sharks are classified as vertebrates in the phylum Chordata. Although their skeletons are made of cartilage rather than hard bone, they are still considered vertebrates.

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Full Answer

Sharks belong to the class Elasmobranchii, which is made up of around 1,000 species of sharks, rays and skates. The fins of cartilaginous fish, such as sharks, do not bend or fold into their bodies like those of bony fish. This makes their dorsal fins stand rigidly so that they poke ominously out of the water when the sharks are near the surface. However, most sharks do not swim near the surface of the water, preferring to stay near the bottom or mid-waters.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the difference between male and female sharks?

    A:

    Male and female sharks differ in that male sharks have modified pelvic fins called claspers, while female sharks do not. Furthermore, male sharks have testes, while female sharks have ovaries. Male sharks also have two muscular sacs known as siphon sacs located in their abdominal wall.

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  • Q:

    What predators prey on great white sharks?

    A:

    Predators that prey on great white sharks include killer whales, or orcas. Great white sharks also prey on other smaller great white sharks. Humans also can threaten the great white shark when they catch it in nets and sell its fins and jaws for money.

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  • Q:

    How much do sharks weigh?

    A:

    Adult sharks weigh anywhere from much less than 1 pound to 42,000 pounds or more. The dwarf lantern shark, reaching a maximum length of 8 inches, is the smallest, while the whale shark tops the list at more than 40 feet in length.

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  • Q:

    What do baby sharks eat?

    A:

    Baby sharks, appropriately called "pups," eat smaller quantities of the same food that adult sharks eat. Although the exact composition of the diet will vary due to species, environmental factors and availability, most shark pups eat fish, mollusks, crustaceans, krill, marine mammals and plankton.

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