Sharks are beautiful fierce, underwater creatures that deserve our respect and preservation efforts.
They hold an important role in maintaining the ocean’s ecosystem by keeping the balance as natural predators. How many types of sharks are there in the world?
According to the Smithsonian Ocean site, there are 500 different types of sharks found around the world.
Let’s take a look at 20 different types of sharks list and types of sharks pictures that live in various places you may be curious about.
Table of Contents
Types of Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico
1. Shortfin Mako Shark
Also known as a blue pointer or Bonito shark, the shortfin mako shark has a bullet-shaped body that is built for speed. In fact, it can reach speeds of at least 31 MPH. Fishermen target this species due to the fact that they taste similar to swordfish.
Shortfin makos have been reported to have the ability to leap up to 20 feet out of the water, after becoming caught in a fisherman’s line.
These big, fast sharks are known to even have the propensity to jump into boats. The shortfin mako is currently on the list of endangered sharks. It is one of the types of sharks in Panama City Beach.
See Related: Different Types of Terrain Around the World
2. Nurse Shark
Nurse sharks are known for being the most inactive type of shark on the block. During the day they sleep and at night they explore the sandy bottom for little critters they can nibble on. Though nurse sharks are slow and non-aggressive, they still need their space.
Nurse sharks feed on squid, conchs, and sea urchins. They suck food into their mouths like a vacuum cleaner and use their pectoral fins to travel across the bottom of the ocean floor.
The two knobs on their face, called barbels, work similarly to taste buds. Nurse sharks get new rows of their unique types of sharks teeth frequently, depending on what season it is.
In the summer, they get a new set of teeth every 10-20 days.
See Related: Great Hammerhead Shark
Types of Sharks in Puerto Rico
You can find all the different types of sharks near the great island of Puerto Rico.
3. Great Hammerhead
You may be wondering; how many types of hammerhead sharks are there? There are ten different types of hammerhead shark breeds. Great hammerhead sharks, such as those found off of Puerto Rico are classified as endangered sharks. They are the largest of all the hammerhead species.
Great hammerheads reach maturity between age 5 and 9 years old, giving birth every 2 years. They give birth to anywhere from 6 to 42 pups at a time!
Great hammerheads have electrical receptors on their heads that give them the ability to sense nearby prey, even if it is hiding in the sand. They feed on squid, crustaceans, stingrays, and other types of sharks.
See Related: Great White Shark
4. Oceanic Whitetip
Also endangered sharks, oceanic whitetip shark breeds are active both in the day and at night. In order to breathe, they have to keep swimming so that oxygen pumps over their gills. They prefer warmer waters and love swimming as deep down as possible.
Named after the white tips on their fins, oceanic whitetip sharks are a medium-sized shark that can be found all over the world. This unique type of shark is interesting and often feared, in that they hunt in packs like dogs.
See Related: Whale Shark
5. Silky Shark
Silky sharks are named as such due to the silky appearance of their skin. Their body is long and slim, reaching an average of 12 feet in length. They can be found in warm, tropical waters. Silky sharks are known for their particularly acute sense of hearing.
Silky sharks are on the list of endangered sharks. Their average life expectancy is around 22 years.
Their gestation period is around 1 year, and they give birth to 15 to 20 pups at a time.
Types of Sharks in Myrtle Beach
You may be wondering, what are the types of sharks in South Carolina? Let’s have a look.
6. Great White Shark
Out of all types of sharks, no other shark in the ocean invokes such an image of fear and raw power as the great white shark does. It is the largest of all the predatory sharks in the ocean today, measuring approximately 20 feet long and weighing up to 6,600 pounds.
By playing the role of the top predator in the ocean, great white sharks keep the population of sea lions and elephant seals in check.
Perhaps their most recognizable feature is their rows of sharp serrated teeth. Each tooth may reach a size of 6.6 inches tall! According to National Geographic, great whites can detect one drop of blood in 25 gallons of water, up to 3 miles away.
See Related: Giant Armadillo
7. Tiger Shark
Named after the tiger-like stripes that adorn his body, the tiger shark loses these stripes after he reaches adulthood. Tiger sharks give birth to 80 or more embryos at a time and give birth to 30 to 35 pups in a litter.
Second in size to the great white shark, the tiger shark reaches a length of 18 feet long and weighs up to 2000 pounds. Tiger shark breeds are notorious for eating just about anything they can find, from scavenged dead animals to garbage.
Tiger sharks have also been known to bite people.
8. Lemon Shark
Named after the yellowish hue of their skin, lemon sharks are the most researched of all sharks. This is because they are able to be kept in captivity for long periods of time. Because of this, scientists have had a great opportunity to observe their behavior.
Although they have very poor vision, their nose makes up for it, as it contains magnetic sensors that detect their prey. This bottom-dwelling shark finds its prey by sifting through the sand for rays, bony fish, and crustaceans.
See Related: Arabian Oryx
Types of Sharks in Hawaii
What types of sharks are there on the beautiful island of Hawaii?
9. Galapagos Shark
Galapagos sharks enjoy swimming in clear waters, coral reefs, and the like. Schools of these sharks can reach hundreds. They are fairly big, reaching around 9.8 feet long. Due to their slow reproductive rate and overfishing, Galapagos sharks have found themselves on the list of endangered sharks.
Females give birth every 2 to 3 years to 4-16 pups. The young remain in shallow water to avoid becoming eaten by larger sharks, as Galapagos sharks are known to eat their own.
Galapagos sharks do have a unique capability. They are able to turn their stomachs inside out. This is helpful if they eat something they shouldn’t and need to get rid of it.
See Related: Dusky Shark
10. Gray Reef Shark
Found near coral reefs, the gray reef shark enjoys spending their time at a depth of 200 feet. They are currently threatened by commercial fishing, as they commonly get caught in fisherman’s nets. Experts suggest that it won’t be long until they are classified as endangered sharks.
A smaller shark, gray reef sharks can reach 5-6 feet in length and 66 pounds. Although they usually swim slowly, they can swim up to 25 MPH when chasing after their prey. They have very sharp teeth and an excellent sense of smell.
See Related: Crowned Eagle
Types of Sharks in San Diego
11. Leopard Shark
Some of the most common sharks found off the California coast, leopard sharks are named as such due to the dark splotches on their skin. According to the San Diego Zoo, there are no reports of anyone ever being killed by a leopard shark. Conversely, leopard sharks are sometimes caught as a food source for people.
Leopard sharks have lived in zoological settings for over 20 years. In their natural habitat, you can find them in shallow enclosed muddy bays, entering with the tide, and leaving when it exits.
See Related: Amur Leopard
12. Sevengill Shark
Named for having seven gills on the side of their bodies as opposed to five, sevengill sharks are often known called “cow sharks.” They prey on other types of sharks, octopuses, bony fishes, and rays. Sometimes they are seen in packs seal hunting.
The sevengill has an interesting set of teeth. Teeth that rest in its upper jaw are jagged, while those in its lower jaw are shaped like a comb.
Though the sevengill shark is aggressive if provoked, according to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, there is no record of any shark attacks in open water from sevengills.
See Related: Bactrian Camel
Types of Sharks in Florida
13. Caribbean Reef Shark
Because the Caribbean reef shark enjoys swimming in shallow tropical waters, it often comes into contact with humans. Although this may evoke fear in people, Caribbean reef shark breeds are rather shy and are generally not aggressive.
With that being said, if you bother them or there is food close by, they could bite. Five to six feet in length, reef sharks feast on tropical fish, shrimp, and crabs.
14. Sandbar Shark
Averaging six feet long and weighing 110-150 pounds, the sandbar shark lives in the sandy bottoms of coastal areas. Found all over the world, sandbar sharks have been targeted by U.S. commercial shark fisheries. Natural predators of the sandbar shark include tiger sharks and great white sharks.
Types of Sharks in Galveston
15. Spinner Shark
Spinner sharks got their name because they are known for leaping up to 20 feet out of the water and spinning around three times in the air before falling back in. In fact, they even spin upward through the water with their mouths open while they are catching schools of small fish.
Not considered to be dangerous to humans, spinner sharks are near threatened due to overfishing.
16. Bonnethead Shark
A member of the hammerhead family, the bonnethead shark features a unique head that is shaped like a shovel. They are one of the smallest types of hammerhead sharks. Bonnetheads rarely go out on their own, and typically travel in groups of 3-15. They can be found anywhere from the Gulf of Mexico, to North Carolina, to the Caribbean to southern Brazil.
Types of Freshwater Sharks
Some freshwater sharks are also types of aquarium sharks.
However, this isn’t the case for the bull shark, which is much too large and aggressive to put into your aquarium! Types of small sharks that will fit into your aquarium include the bala shark, the red-tailed shark, and the rainbow shark. To find the one that is perfect for your aquarium, you can view pictures of different types of sharks.
17. Bull Shark
Found in oceans and freshwater alike, bull sharks have large bodies and a very strong bite. They are considered a potential threat to humans who venture out into the open water. Bull shark breeds have the ability to swim very far up rivers.
For example, in 1937, a bull shark was caught by two fishermen near Alton, IL. This location is around 1,750 miles away from New Orleans. These big, aggressive sharks have been listed as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Types of Sharks in California
Exactly how many different types of sharks are there in California? The answer is that there are 29 species native to California. There are 11 types of sharks in San Francisco Bay alone.
18. Common Thresher Shark
The most notable feature of the common thresher is its whip-like tail. It uses its tail to corral and stun fish before it feasts on them.
Thresher shark breeds can grow to be about 20 feet long. Often seen jumping high out of the water, threshers are sometimes mistaken for other types of marine life. They are not commonly involved in shark attacks.
19. Blue Shark
Blue sharks enjoy migrating between the U.S. and Europe. In the Pacific Ocean, they have been recorded traveling over 5,000 miles.
Blue sharks are the most fished shark in the world. They average about 12.5 feet long and weigh about 450 pounds. Their sleek, tapered body makes them fast, powerful swimmers. They prefer living in deep, cool waters.
20. Angel Shark
A truly unique species, the angel shark looks similar to a ray. They are around 5 feet long, weighing about 77 pounds. Other names for the angel shark include the monkfish and the sand devil. Their camouflaged bodies help them catch their prey.
When prey comes close by, they use their powerful suction to grab it within 1/10 of a second. Angel sharks are on the list of critically endangered sharks.