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Shark oft the Werk: Leopard shark — 21. August 2017

Shark oft the Werk: Leopard shark

The Leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata) is a beautiful shark of the family of houndsharks. It lives in the northeastern pacific in several distinct populations off Oregon down to Mexico. They like the ground (sandy or muddy) near rocks or kelp forests in depths between 3 and 295 ft -1 and 90 m.

View from above of two leopard sharks lying on the sand side-by-side
By nugunslinger from Lafayette, USofA – Leopard Sharks….NOT Tiger, CC BY 2.0, Link

Female Leopard sharks are ovoviparous and give birth to 4 to 29 living young after a gestation period of 12 month. The 8 in -30 cm- long pups grow slowly and mature only after 10 years. Males are up to 78 in -2 m- and females up to 70 in -1.8 m- long. They live up to 30 years.
Leopard sharks form large groups, even together with different shark species. They search rather buried prey like crabs, worms and clams than feed from fish. Since their habitats are often endangered by human effluent and industrial waste, they tend to concentrate pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), and other toxic chemicals in the liver.
Leopard sharks are caught as game fish and fished commercially for their meat. They are often shown in aquaria.

Sources: here, here and here

Another way to pork|Ein anderer Weg zu Schweinefleisch — 18. August 2017

Another way to pork|Ein anderer Weg zu Schweinefleisch

If you ever saw a video about factory farming of pigs, you will value this one:

Two women let the sow out (it is also a German phrase meaning “two women whoop it up”) – they keep pigs in Germany in free range (albeit different races bought in England). If the link is invalid (the video is limited to 1 year, sorry) – I will share some facts in my coming post about pork.


Wenn Du jemals ein Video über Massentierhaltung von Schweinen gesehen hast, wirst Du dies zu würdigen wissen:

Zwei Frauen lassen die Sau raus – sie halten Schweine in Deutschland in Freilandhaltung (wenn auch andere Rassen, die in England gekauft wurden). Falls der Link nicht mehr funktioniert (das Video ist auf 1 Jahr begrenzt, tut mir leid) – ich werde einige Fakten in meinen kommenden Post zu Schweinefleisch einbeziehen.

Video auf deutsch in der SWR- Mediathek

Scientific American Blog Network: 30 Percent of Sharks, Rays and Related Species at Risk of Extinction | 30% der Haie, Rochen und verwandten Arten sind vom Aussterben bedroht — 16. August 2017
Shark of the week: Daggernose shark — 14. August 2017

Shark of the week: Daggernose shark

The genus Isogomphodon of requiem sharks only consists of one living species, but it seems that the Daggernose shark (Isogomphodon oxyrhynchus), known since 1839, soon joins the fate of its extinct sister species Isogomphodon acuarius.

Systematische Beschreibung der Plagiostomen (Plate 15) BHL6353140.jpg
Von Henle, Jacob; Müller, Johannes – http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/pageimage/6353140, Gemeinfrei, Link

Female Daggernose sharks are viviparous (placental connection after the yolk sac of the embryo is depleted) and give birth to 2 to 8 living young every two years in nursery areas. Newborn sharks measure 15 to 17 in -38 to 43 cm- in length. Males mature at an age of 5–6 years and females with 6–7 years and reach up to 12 years and 4.6 ft -1.4 m- (males) and 20 years and 5.2 ft -1.6 m- (females).

The Daggernose shark lives solely in coastal waters (no rivers since it is intolerant of fresh water) of the Western Atlantic off Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and northern Brazil. It is highly specialised (tiny eyes but elongated snout to properly use electroreception, a lot of pointed slender teeth -the most teeth of all requiem sharks- to form a fish trap) to hunt small schooling fish in muddy waters. Since humans are after the same fish, the shark gets the short end of the stick – caught as bycatch in gillnets (but also by fishery targeting sharks), it has been considered critically endangered by the IUCN since 2006 as a result. Between 1992 and 2002 it suffered a very large population decline (shown by more that 90% less catches), and moreover, mostly juvenile specimens have been found in the nets. And things may have gotten worse since then. There are simply no new data available regarding daggernose sharks, not for lack of trying but specimen, which means they are (despite being legally protected in Brazil since 2006, which is without enforcement not of much use) in reproductive collapse and on the brick of extinction.

Sources: here, here and here

shark of the week: Whitenose shark — 7. August 2017

shark of the week: Whitenose shark

We know that mutation can be, more often than not, a reason to not function normally and die, but sometimes it can be a way to develop new, successful species. To see evolution at work we only have to look at the Whitenose shark (Nasolamia velox).

See, the Whitenose shark differs from any other requiem sharks in matters of cranial and rostral characteristics so much that is has got its own genus, but all other characteristics are so much like that of the Blacknose shark that scientists began to speculate.

There is this deformation called cyclopia (named after the Greek myth cyclops which is a giant with an eye on its forehead), caused by genetic mutations (or toxins during pregnancy) in mammals and humans (Don’t look at pictures. Seriously, don’t. Look here instead.). Well, incipient cyclopia could explain the differences – so it seems that the Whitenose shark developed from the Blacknose shark, or better ancestors of the Whitenose shark mutated from ancestors of the Blacknose shark, a long time ago. This must have happened before the Isthmus of Panama separated the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, since now the Blacknose shark inhabits only the tropical western Atlantic and the Whitenose shark only the tropical eastern Pacific (so it is an example of Plate tectonics as well).

Nasolamia3.jpg
Nasolamia velox by Mexfish.com – Mexfish.com, CC-BY-SA 4.0, Link

Like other requiem sharks, Whitenose sharks are caught by commercial and artisanal fisheries for their meat and fins.

Sources: here, here and here

shark of the week: Blacknose shark — 31. July 2017

shark of the week: Blacknose shark

The Blacknose shark (Carcharhinus acronotus) is a little (up to 4.3 ft -1.3 m- long) requiem shark. Its name refers to a black spot on the nose of juvenile sharks.

Carcharhinus acronotus noaa.jpg
Carcharhinus acronotus by NOAA – http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090724_sharks.html, Public Domain, Link

Blacknose sharks live in tropical or warm-temperate coastal waters of the western Atlantic from the southern USA, through the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean all the way to southern Brazil. There is segregation by size and sex: juveniles are typically found in shallow water while adults are located at greater depths. They are known to form large schools.

Blacknose sharks reach a maximum age of 10-16 years for females and 4.5-9 years for males. Both mature at 2 years and are relatively fast growing. Reproduction is viviparous with a yolk-sac placenta. After a 8-11 month gestation period, 3-6 15 to 20 in -38 to 50 cm- long pups are born annually (Gulf of Mexico) or biennially (Northwestern Atlantic) in shallow nursery areas like coastal bays or mangrove swamps, for instance Bulls Bay, South Carolina (U.S.).

Blacknose sharks are fished commercially as target and bycatch, but also as game-fish – as they are deemed decent fighters. This species is considered Near Threatened globally by the IUCN, and benefits from conservation measures (together with other small coastal sharks) in US waters. Although affected by high fishing pressure, Blacknose sharks seem to be in no danger in Brazil (since there are enough mature sharks to be found) but there aren’t sufficient data yet. For the Caribbean, too.

Sources: here, here and here

ideas.ted.com: Vertical ocean farms that can feed us and help our seas| Vertikale Meeresfarmen, die uns ernähren können und unseren Meeren helfen — 30. July 2017

ideas.ted.com: Vertical ocean farms that can feed us and help our seas| Vertikale Meeresfarmen, die uns ernähren können und unseren Meeren helfen

Bren Smith wants to create thousands of decent jobs, transform how we harvest food from the oceans, and blunt the effects of climate change and marine degradation — all at the same time. His big idea: small-scale marine farms.

see Vertical ocean farms that can feed us and help our seas — ideas.ted.com


Bren Smith will tausende von ehrlichen Jobs schaffen, verändern wie wir Nahrung aus dem Meer holen, und die Effekte von Klimawandel und Meereszerstörung abmildern- alles zur gleichen Zeit. Seine große Idee: kleine Meeres-Farmen.

Siehe Vertical ocean farms that can feed us and help our seas — ideas.ted.com

Shark of the week: Borneo Shark — 24. July 2017

Shark of the week: Borneo Shark

One shark species considered endangered by the IUCN was possibly nearly extinct, since it had not been recorded since 1937 and only five confirmed specimens were known. But in 2004, several specimens of the Borneo Shark (Carcharhinus borneensis) has been found again by scientists in fish markets (just like the Indonesian wobbegong), making images never seen before possible, like color images (of fresh specimens instead of preserved) or of its enlarged denticles.

Denticles c borneensis.png
Denticles borneo shark – By William Toby White i Pieter Last – White, W.T.; Last, P.R.; Lim, A.P.K.. Rediscovery of the rare and endangered Borneo Shark Carcharhinus borneensis (Bleeker, 1858) (Carcharhiniformes: Carcharhinidae), 2010. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, CC BY 3.0, Link

The Borneo shark has a slender body with a long, pointed snout, rather large, round eyes with nictitating membranes and oblique, slit-like nostrils. Unique is a row of enlarged pores above the corners of its mouth. Like most requiem sharks it is viviparous with up to 6 embryos, provisioned by the mother through a placental connection formed from the depleted yolk sac and born alive at close to 9.4 to 11.0 in -24 to 28 cm- long. Maturing at around 22 to 23 in -55 to 58 cm- in males and 24 to 26 in -61 to 65 cm- in females, the Borneo shark is a rather small shark (the largest known specimen measures 26 in -65 cm- long).

Formerly, the Borneo shark lived in shallow coastal waters of the Indo-West Pacific off Borneo, China and possibly Java. Now it lives maybe solely around the mouth of the Mukah River in Malaysia, where, due to high fishing pressure, it is in grave danger.

Sources: here, here and here

Shark of the week: Carcharhinus tjutjot — 17. July 2017

Shark of the week: Carcharhinus tjutjot

The Carcharhinus tjutjot (sometimes also known as Indonesian whaler shark) is a little known requiem shark. There is no picture of this species to be found, but since it had been confused with juvenile Whitecheek sharks up to 2012, it has to look a lot like them.

Named after one of the Indonesian words for shark, the Carcharhinus tjutjot lives in shallow coastal waters (up to 328 ft -100 m- deep) of the South China Sea off Indonesia, Taiwan and Borneo. This litte shark species (up to 36 in – 93 cm – long) is, like all requiem sharks, ovoviviparous: there have been found 2 late-term embryos measuring 11 in -27.9 cm- length inside one pregnant female.

There is no IUCN Red List Status available, yet, but, since the similar Whitecheek shark faces extinction in its Asian habitats, the risk for the Carcharhinus tjutjot has to be equally high, especially due to the fact that it has got no managed Australian sub-species like its relative.

Sources: here and here

Shark of the week: Finetooth shark — 10. July 2017

Shark of the week: Finetooth shark

Another shark with a name leaving no doubt about the reason is the Finetooth shark (Carcharhinus isodon). Named after its nearly even, rather slender teeth in upper and lower jaw (isodon means „even tooth“), its name is also Eventooth Shark or Smoothtooth Shark, in German Feinzahnhai, in French Requin à Petites Dents and in Spanish Galana Dientefino or Tiburón Dentiliso (however, I don’t know why it is also named Night Shark or Tiburón de Noche).

Carcharhinus isodon in net.JPG
Von National Observer Program, NMFS/SEFSC – http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/observer-home/about-nop/activities/index, Gemeinfrei, Link

The Finetooth shark inhabits extremely shallow coastal waters (no deeper than 33 ft -10 m- in the summer and 66 ft -20 m- deep in the winter) in the Northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Southwest Atlantic (off Brazil) in distinct populations. In the past it was known to venture into rivers, though most of its paths are nowadays blocked by dams. That’s a problem, since the females move to special inshore nursery areas. There they give birth to 2 to 6 living, 19 to 25 in -48 to 64 cm- long young every 2 years after a 12 month gestation period. Like all species of the family requiem sharks, finetooth sharks are oviviparous, that means the embryo hatches in the womb and is born alive. Additionally, the depleted yolk sac develops into a placental connection to the mother after the embryos drain their yolk supply during their first 15 weeks (viviparous).

Although having a maximum length of 6.2 ft -1.9 m- (on average males reach only 5.2 ft -1.6 m- in length and females 5.4 ft -1.7 m-), the finetooth shark is no danger to humans. However, it thrashes and snaps at anything within reach when caught. It matures at 40 in -1 m- (at 4-5 years as males and 5-6 years as females, who are growing slower in general) and has a life span of 9 years – males- or 14 years – females.

Off the coast of North America the finetooth shark is known to migrate south seasonally (namely when surface water temperatures drop below 68°F -20°C-). It hunts in large schools for small fish. It is susceptible to habitat degradation (especially it nursery areas) and overfishing (as bycatch and targeted), but is considered (despite its low reproductive rate) as Least Concern – at least in the northern hemisphere, off Brazil however there is only a badly managed fishery which already pushed other shark species near extinction.

Sources: here, here and here