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Greenland Shark (SOMNIOSUS MICHROCEPHALUS)

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SHARK, GREENLAND / SOMNIOSUS MICHROCEPHALUS
37 80 432.00 952.6 Trondheimsfd Norway 190584 E. Nielsen
60 60 320.00 705.8 Langsundfjd Norway 041080 E. Nielsen
AT AT 432.00 952.6 Trondheimsfd Norway 190584 E. Nielsen

The Greenland Shark (SOMNIOSUS MICHROCEPHALUS)

is typically found in the Northern Atlantic and Arctic regions. It has been reported as far east as France and Portugal, as far west as the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and as far south as Cape Cod and North Carolina. There have even been a few sightings of the shark in the Southern Atlantic near Argentina and in Antarctic waters.

The Greenland shark ranges in depths of 0-3,937 feet (0 to 1,200 m) and temperatures of 34-68°F (1 to 12°C). In the north, the shark migrates near shore in search of warmer waters. It is usually spotted near the surface during the winter and retreats to depths of 591-1,804 feet (180 to 550 m) during the summer. In southern waters the shark is found near continental shelves and slopes and is found at a depth of about 3,937 feet (1,200 m). In 1988, an unmanned submarine spotted a 20 feet (6 m) long male Greenland shark at a depth of 7,218 feet (2,200 m) at the wreck of the SS Central America, which sank off the coast of Savannah, Georgia in 1857. This is 3,281 feet (1,000 m) deeper than the maximum reported depth of the shark and 273 miles (440 km) south of its southernmost sighting in North Carolina.

The Greenland shark is characterized by its large, heavy-set body which gives it a sluggish appearance and movement. It has a short, rounded snout, thin lips, and very small eyes. The dorsal and pectoral fins are very small, and it lacks spines in its dorsal fins. The gill openings are very small in comparison to its size and are located low on the sides of the shark's head.

The Greenland shark varies between a black, brown, and grey color. Although the shark is usually uniform in color, it may often be marked with dark lines or white spots along its back and sides.

Greenland sharks average in size from 8-14 feet (244 to 427 cm) with females being the larger sex. This shark reaches a maximum length of about 21 feet (640 cm); although, it may grow to 24 feet (730 cm). Growth of the shark is very slow due to the cold temperatures of its climate.

greenland shark (somniosus michrocephalus)

The Greenland shark's most common food consists of a large variety of ocean dwellers such as other small sharks, skates, eels, herring, capelin, char, various gadoids, redfish, sculpins, lumpfish, wolfish, and flounders. Marine mammals, such as seals and porpoises, are often taken by Greenland sharks despite it being characterized as a very sluggish creature. A few Greenland shark specimens have even been found to contain an entire reindeer and parts of a horse. The shark is also known to feed off carrion and is attracted to ill-smelling meat. They often congregate in large numbers around fishing operations.

The Greenland shark is an ovoviviparous species. The female carries a large number of soft-shelled eggs eventually giving birth to full-term embryos. Some eggs have been reported to be as large as goose eggs. One 16 feet (5 m) specimen was reported to have contained ten 15 inches (38 cm) long full-term embryos in one of its uteri.

Information supplied by http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu

 
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