Here at Byte Size Treasure, we are massive Shark Nerds and we know you are too! When I design my shark characters, great care is taken to make sure that they look and feel like the real shark species/family!
Due to the sheer number of different shark species, some shark Orders and Families are combined into one design based on their shared similarities.
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Extant means "still in existence; surviving"
Order: Lamniformes (7 Families; 15 Species)
This order of sharks contains some of the most publicly-familiar species of large, active, pelagic sharks. The order also includes the rarely seen, deep-water species - the Goblin shark and Megamouth shark. All members of this order have cylindrical bodies, 5 gills, 2 spineless dorsal fins, an anal fin, and eyes without nictitating membranes.
The White Sharks (Lamnidae family) is a family of 5 large fast-swimming, wide-ranging, and warm-blooded sharks, which includes the Great White shark, Salmon shark, Porbeagle Shark, and 2 species of Mako sharks.
Order: Orectolobiformes (7 Families; 44 Species)
This order of sharks is incredibly diverse - species vary greatly in size, appearance, diet, habitats, and reproduction. All species have two spineless dorsal fins, 5 gill slits, nostrils with barbels, spiracles behind their eyes, and no nictitating membrane; The Carpet shark common name comes from the intricate patterns and mottled appearance of many species, reminiscent of carpet designs. Their patterning helps many species with camouflage. Carpet sharks are found in all the oceans of the world but predominantly in tropical and temperate waters.Find All Products Featuring Carpet Sharks
Order: Carcharhiniformes (8 Families; 281+ Species)
This is the largest, most diverse, and widespread order of sharks. Most are small and harmless, but this order does include some large predatory sharks.
Though these sharks have a wide range of appearances, they all have 2 spineless dorsal fins, 5 gill slits, and an anal fin. These sharks do possess a nictitating membrane (extra eyelid) over their eyes.
In this order, you'll find the Catsharks, the largest shark family at over 160 species, with more species being discovered all the time. They are small, elongated sharks found in tropical and temperate waters worldwide, at varying depths.
Also in this order are the Requiem Sharks, a dominant group of migratory, live-bearing sharks that live in warm and tropic waters - this family includes the Tiger shark, Oceanic Whitetip shark, Lemon shark, Blue shark, Blacktip Reef shark, Bull shark, and many others.
Order: Hexanchiformes (2 Families; 7 Species)
This order contains the most "primitive" shark species surviving to modern times. It is comprised of two very unique families of sharks - the Frilled Sharks and the Cow Sharks.
These sharks are unique due to the number of gill slits. Where most sharks have 5 pairs - these sharks have more. Frilled Sharks have 6 gill slits, and Cow Sharks have 6 or 7, depending on the species.
Order: Squaliformes (6 Families; 130 Species)
This large group of sharks varies a lot in form and size - from the 8" long Dwarf Lantern Shark up to the large 21' Greenland Shark. Many species, including all Lantern sharks and all Kitefin sharks, exhibit intrinsic bioluminescence. One thing they all have in common are two dorsal fins, no anal fin, no nictitating membrane, spiracles, and 5 gill slits.
Dogfish sharks are found in a wide range of marine habitats. Their greatest diversity is found in deepwater and the order includes the only sharks found in high latitudes, close to the Arctic Circle.
Order: Squatiniformes (1 Family; 25 Species)
This small order of bottom-dwelling, flat sharks closely resemble rays with similar broad, flattened bodies, short snouts, and large fins. But they have gill openings on the side of their heads, not underneath.
An estimated 50-80% of all Angel shark species are threatened and close to extinction.
Order: Echinorhiniformes (1 Family; 2 Species)
This order of sharks are uncommon and little-known. Both species are large in size and recognized by the thorn-like dermal denticles covering their bodies.
The placement of this order of sharks varies on source. Sometimes put under the Dogfish order, but many times they're given their own order.
Order: Heterodontiformes (1 Family; 9 Species)
This ancient order of sharks has a long fossil record. Their appearance is distinct - small, stout bodies, pig-like snouts, and prominent eye crests. They have two dorsal fins, both of which have dorsal spines.
Their taxonomic name translates to 'different teeth' refers to these sharks uniquely shaped teeth and jaws.
(1 Family; 8 Species)
This order contains one family of little known sharks. They are all slender with flattened heads that have a long, flat saw-like rostrum edged with sharp teeth.
Not to be confused with sawfish (a family of rays), saw sharks are distinguished by gill slits on their sides and a pair of long barbels on their narrower snouts.
Sharks have been on earth for hundreds of millions of years - long before trees existed. The lineage of sharks/rays/chimaeras has survived 5 mass extinctions and their incredible diversity is key to their success.
What we know about shark evolution is based on the fossils we find - and the vast majority of shark fossils are teeth. This is because shark skeletons are made from cartilage; which is a firm, lightweight, flexible, but very strong connective tissue- and cartilage decomposes too quickly to form fossils (without special conditions).
Their teeth, however, are made from dentin, which is harder and denser than bone, and fossilizes well.
Order: Chimaeriformes (3 Families; 51+ Species)
Though not actual sharks, Chimaeras (also known as ghost sharks) are cartilaginous fish that are the closest living relatives of sharks and rays.
Chimaeras resemble sharks more than they do rays, but there are many differences. Their skin is smooth and lacks scales, their upper jaws are fused with their skulls, they have a single gill opening thats covered like bony fish, and instead of many teeth, they have large, permanent grinding tooth plates.
Most of the species of chimaeras identified thus far are found in the deep ocean. Many species can grow up to 6 feet in length and their eyes are backed with a reflective tissue layer that makes them seem to glow in the dark, which helps contribute to their ghostlike appearance.