Blacktip sharks are one of the few shark species that constantly swim with an open mouth. Scientists believe this is an additional method to secure oxygen, in addition to the technique of Ram Ventilation (the circulation of seawater through gills for oxygen).
Blacktip sharks (and sharks in general) have a brain-to-body mass ratio comparable to humans, mammals, and birds. Therefore, their playfulness, curiosity, and unique personalities can be associated with their larger brains (compared to their body size).
Blacktip sharks are powerful and sprightly predators, often seen jumping out of the water with dynamic, twisting, and flipping-like manoeuvres. Due to their airborne spinning, they are frequently confused with spinner sharks.
Japanese legends allude to a shark-resembling beast with pointed fins and barbed tail fins. These creatures are called Isonade and are greatly feared owing to their nasty habits of feasting on drowning passengers and prey, which they swipe off the beach with their barbed tails.
Native Americans held bi-annual ceremonies to make amends with sharks and forestall fatal shark attacks in the future. Shark-charmers would facilitate the ceremonies, where natives found the courage to kiss recently captured and still living sharks on their underbelly.
Blacktip sharks are not aggressive towards humans. In fact, they are rather timid. However, a shiver of blacktips can become extremely perilous, especially with surplus prey in the vicinity (for instance, a bait ball). If caught in a 'feeding frenzy', blacktips can be hazardous for any diver.
One way in which climate change may be negatively impacting blacktip sharks is through ocean acidification. The rising temperatures and more acidic environments are potentially linked to more fragile, degrading, and eroding scales and teeth.
Shark researchers in Tahiti recently disclosed that an estimated 40% of sharks swim around with commercial fishing hooks stuck in their mouths. Thus, sharks are likely suffering from symptoms such as internal bleeding and necrosis more than we know.
Some unique physiological adaptations that differentiate sharks from humans include their two-chambered hearts (as opposed to our four-chambered hearts), their cold-blooded bodies that match the waters surrounding them, and their "Y" shaped brains.
The blacktip shark's tiny, yellow, oval eyes hold critical visual abilities. Their eyes adjust to obtain better vision at deep levels of the water column, where the light does not penetrate. This allows them to remain efficient hunters, even at great depths and dark environments.
Humans are undeniably sharks' most treacherous predators, killing an approximated 100 million sharks each year. The fins are highly valued as the star ingredient in a upscale, culturally significant dish: shark fin soup. However, the fins add little flavour and are more a status symbol.
One popular shark legend spread throughout the Cook Islands is the grand tale of Tekea. Tekea was the king of all sharks and is notorious for his kind act of saving a woman named Ina. Ina almost drowned on her way to meet her soulmate, Tinirau, the god of the ocean. But, thanks to Tekea, Ina was saved and reunited with her love.
The blacktip shark's tail fin is the most significant asset to its swimming efficiency. By slowly shifting its tail side-to-side, the shark barely needs any exhausting movement to thrust itself forcefully through the sea and travel great distances.
Remoras attach to other species (such as sharks, turtles, whales, manta rays, etc.) primarily because they do not have swimming bladders to stay afloat. Instead, they have modified dorsal fins called 'sucking disks' that equip them to bind to and travel with other species.
Remoras' scientific family name (Echeneidae) is Greek for 'holding down a ship'. The naming is based on the Greek myth that holds Remora accountable for the drowning of a Roman Emporer. Legend has it bunches of Remora held the ship down on the sea floor, instigating Emporer Caligula's death.
Some studies suggest that the blacktip sharks' charismatic out-of-water spinning is driven by the urge to eliminate 'Shark suckers' or remora. Remora attach themselves to numerous shark species and cause irritation as well as hinder swimming abilities.
Although remoras may irritate sharks (similar to how a fly would aggravate humans), they do not harm sharks. Contrarily, parasites are painful to blacktip sharks and include copepods and nematodes. Some nematodes wreak havoc internally, damaging female sharks' ovaries.
Shark Gods are abounding in ancient Greek mythology. One of many shark gods includes a daughter of Poseidon and a sea god, Lamia. Lamia was infamous for her forbidden affair with Zeus. Consequently, Zeus's wife had Lamia's children murdered, and Zeus transformed Lamia into a vengeful shark.
While most fish produce large numbers of young that are less mature, sharks (like humans and other mammals) have few, more developed young. This type of reproduction is biologically known as k-selection reproduction.
Remoras are a species of ray-finned fishes that dwell in open seas and are notorious for occupying peculiar environments. For instance, remoras are known to live inside sharks' mouths, attach to vessels, and even latch onto the bellies of scuba divers.
Like most sharks, Blacktip sharks have five gill slits on each side of their bodies. However, their gill slits are unusually long compared to other sharks. Blacktips are also known for their narrow, serrated, and cusped teeth, a distinguishing feature of all requiem sharks (the Carcharhinidae family).
Recently, many blacktips have learned that following or chasing down fishing boats will yield them the benefit of feeding off what falls or escapes from the nets. Feeding on the bycatch and catch of fishing vessels will undoubtedly have implications for future migration and feeding patterns.
The oceanic blacktip shark (separate from the blacktip reef shark) is a coastal shark that occupies tropical and subtropical seas. They usually reside within the first 30 metres of the water column. They are commonly spotted in estuaries, mangroves, river mouths, and bays, as well as coral reef drop-offs and within continental shelves. They feed on a wide assortment of bony fish, keeping many populations in check, and playing a crucial role in marine ecosystem maintenance.
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