How Many Species of Sharks Are There?

There are over 400 species of sharks currently prowling the world's oceans. The smallest shark is the dwarf lantern shark, which has a maximum length of 6.8 inches at maturity. The largest shark is the whale shark, which can reach a length of approximately 40 feet at maturity.

Extant sharks are divided into eight different orders, ranging from the carcharhiniformes to the squatiniformes. Of these orders, carcharhiniformes comprise the majority of shark species, with over 270 distinct sharks. Notable sharks found in this order are the requiem sharks, which includes the tiger shark, the bull shark and the blue shark.