Tiger shark

The tiger shark is not the largest of the sharks, but one of the most dangerous. This is an agile and fast predator, sensing prey from afar and possessing teeth that can gnaw through bones. When you see her stripes, it’s better to retreat. She is almost always looking for prey and is able to eat almost everything that catches her eye.

Origin of the species and description

Photo: Tiger Shark

Photo: Tiger Shark

The first ancestors of modern sharks lived on Earth in the Silurian period (420 million years BC). But what kind of fish they were is a debatable question. Cladoselachia are the most studied – they have a body structure similar to sharks, but less perfect, which did not allow them to develop as high speed.

They descended from placoderms, shark-like predators – according to one version of the sea, according to another freshwater. No descendants of Cladoselachia were left, but most likely one of the related and modern fish became the ancestor of sharks.

Video: Tiger shark

From this it is clear that the early evolution of sharks is very vague and causes controversy: for example, it was previously believed that their ancestor was hybodus, a predatory two-meter fish that appeared in the Carboniferous period. But now scientists are inclined to believe that hybodus was just a side branch of the evolution of sharks.

The situation becomes clearer in the Triassic period, when fish appear that are already unambiguously classified as sharks. They flourished even then, but a big evolutionary shift occurred along with the well-known extinction of the dinosaurs, and with them most of the other fauna. traits. It was then that the karhariformes appeared, which are considered the most advanced of the sharks in structure. These include the tiger shark.

The modern species is the only one included in the genus of the same name. The history of the classification is quite complicated and confusing – its name in Latin had to be changed more than once or twice. It was described in 1822 by Lesueur and Peron under the name Squalus cuvier.

But only three years later, in the work of Henri Blainville, its position in the species classification was changed, and at the same time it became known as Carcharhinus lamia. In 1837, it was moved again, highlighting the genus Galeocerdo, the species Galeocerdo tigrinus.

On this, her “journeys” ended, but one more change was nevertheless made – the one who first classified it has the right to give a name and, although the generic name had to be changed, the original one was returned to the specific one. This is how the modern Galeocerdo cuvier came about.

Appearance and features

Photo: Great Tiger Shark

Photo: Great Tiger Shark

The upper part of the body is gray with a bluish tinge. It is marked with stripes and spots of a darker color – it is because of them that the tiger shark was so named. The lower part is lighter, has a dirty white color. In young individuals, the color is richer, the spots are very well distinguishable, and as they grow older, they gradually “fade”.

It has a wide snout and a small spray, as well as a very large number of teeth that differ in size and sharpness. They are serrated at the edges and very effective: using them, the shark very easily cuts through flesh and even bones. A powerful jaw helps to do this, thanks to which the shark is able to crush even the shell of a large turtle.

Blowholes are located behind the eyes, with the help of which oxygen enters directly into the shark's brain. Its skin is very thick and many times greater than the skin of a bull – to bite through it, you need to have no less large and sharp teeth than the tiger shark itself. When fighting opponents that do not have such powerful teeth, she can feel like she is wearing armor.

The build of the tiger shark seems bulky compared to other species, the ratio of length and width makes it visually “chubby”. Moreover, most of the time she swims slowly and not too gracefully. But this impression is deceptive – if necessary, it accelerates sharply, reveals agility and maneuverability.

The tiger shark is one of the largest active hunters, second only to the white shark in length. However, in comparison with really large sharks, its size is not so large: on average, from 3 to 4.5 meters, in rare cases it can grow up to 5-5.5 meters. Weight is approximately 400-700 kilograms. Females grow larger than males.

Fun fact: Shark teeth are always so sharp and deadly because they are regularly renewed. In five years, she changes more than ten thousand teeth – a fantastic figure!

Where does the tiger shark live?

Photo: Tiger Shark Fish

Photo: Tiger Shark Fish

They love warm waters, and therefore mainly live in the seas of the tropical and subtropical zones, as well as in the warmest of those that lie in the temperate zone. Most often they swim in coastal waters, although they can also swim in the open ocean. They are even able to cross the ocean and swim to the opposite end, or even to the other end.

The largest number of tiger sharks can be found in:

  • Caribbean Sea;
  • Oceania;
  • the seas surrounding Australia;
  • near Madagascar;
  • the northern seas of the Indian Ocean.

Their range is not limited to this; predators can be found in almost any warm sea. The exception is the Mediterranean, where they do not occur, despite suitable conditions. Although they are in the open ocean, but most often during migration, they usually stay close to the coast, mainly because there is more prey.

In search of prey, they can swim up to the very shore, and also swim in rivers, but do not move away from the mouth. They usually do not dive to great depths, preferring to stay no more than 20-50 meters from the surface of the water. But they are capable of doing it, they have been seen even at a depth of 1,000 meters.

An interesting fact: They have ampoules of Lorenzini – receptors that respond to electrical signals from vibrations, even very weak ones. These signals are transmitted directly to the sharks' brains. They are captured only from a short distance – up to half a meter, but are more accurate than those coming from the organs of hearing and vision, and allow you to calculate movements with deadly accuracy.

Now you know where the tiger lives shark. Let's now see what this dangerous predator eats.

What does the tiger shark eat?

Photo: Tiger Shark

Photo: Tiger Shark

able to eat anyone and anything.

The basis of its menu is:

  • sea lions and seals;
  • turtles;
  • crustaceans;
  • squid;
  • birds;
  • octopuses;
  • fish, including other sharks, are no strangers to cannibalism.

The appetite is truly brutal, and it is hungry most of the day. Moreover, even if you just ate a hearty meal, anyway, if the opportunity presents itself, you won’t be able to resist biting something that swims nearby if you haven’t tried it before.

“Something” – because it applies not only to animals, but also to any garbage. Many strange objects have been found in the stomachs of tiger sharks: car tires and fuel cans, deer antlers, bottles, explosives – and many other similar things.

You can say that this is curiosity: a tiger shark is always interested , what a previously unseen object tastes like and whether it is edible at all. If there is no ordinary food nearby, instead of a long search, tiger sharks attack those who are: for example, dolphins or crocodiles.

They can even attack animals larger than themselves, such as whales, if they are injured or sick, and cannot resist. The danger threatens not only small whales, but also large ones – for example, in 2006 there was a case of an attack on a humpback whale by a whole group near Hawaii.

Their jaws are powerful and wide, which allows them to cope even with such prey. But for the most part, their menu still consists of small organisms. They also eat carrion. The tiger shark is also capable of eating a person – this is one of the most dangerous species, since they can purposefully hunt people.

Character and Lifestyle Features

Photo: Tiger shark in the sea

Photo: Tiger shark in the sea sea

Most of the time the tiger shark spends in search of prey. At the same time, it usually moves rather slowly so as not to frighten away the victim, but then in an instant it transforms and makes a lightning dash. Due to the high dorsal fin and the shape of the snout, it quickly changes direction and is even able to turn around its axis almost instantly.

If many other aquatic predators have poor eyesight, which compensates for their excellent sense of smell, then nature has generously endowed tiger sharks with everything: they have a wonderful scent and vision, and in addition there is a lateral line and ampullae of Lorenzini, thanks to which they are able to capture the movement of each muscle victims – this allows you to hunt even in troubled waters.

The scent of a shark is so good that a drop of blood is enough to attract its attention for kilometers. All this makes the tiger shark one of the most effective predators and, if it is already interested in someone, the chances of the victim to save become very low.

But the tiger shark also loves to relax – just like tigers, it can lie quietly for hours and bask in the sun, for which it swims on a shallow. Most often this happens in the afternoon, when it is saturated. He usually goes hunting in the morning and late in the evening, although he can do it at other times.

Interesting fact: If a tiger shark especially likes a prey or seems light prey, it will continue to hunt for members of the same species. This also applies to people: in 2011, off the island of Maui, they tried to catch a man-eating shark for two years. Despite the closure of the beaches, during this time she ate seven people and maimed twelve more.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Great Tiger Shark

Photo: Great Tiger Shark

Usually they are kept alone, and when they meet, they can come into conflict. This happens if they are angry, or very different in age and size – then a larger individual may simply decide to eat the smaller one. Sometimes they still gather in groups of 5-20 individuals.

This can happen when there is plenty of food, but such groups are unstable, conflicts often arise in them. A group of a dozen tiger sharks is capable of killing very large prey, and becomes dangerous even for whales, as well as for other, larger and not so fast sharks. Although basically they continue to eat smaller living creatures.

The breeding season occurs every three years. Even the mating ritual of tiger sharks stands out with aggressiveness – they do not change themselves in this either. In its course, the male must bite the female by the fin and hold her, and this is not at all a gentle bite: wounds often remain on the body of females. However, sharks still do not feel pain – their body produces substances that block it.

Fertilization is internal. Cubs are hatched for more than a year, after which about 12-16 fry are born, and in some cases up to 40-80. Tiger sharks are ovoviviparous: cubs hatch from eggs in the stomach, and are born already in a developed state.

This is very useful, because the mother will not show any concern towards them, and immediately after the birth they will have to earn their own food and defend themselves. The maternal instinct of the tiger shark is absent, and she does not eat her own cubs only because she loses her appetite before giving birth, and she remains in this state for some time.

Natural enemies tiger sharks

Photo: Tiger Shark Fish

Photo: Tiger Shark Fish

For young and growing individuals, many large predators are dangerous, although most of them are slower. As the threat grows, it becomes less and less, and adult fish can hardly be afraid of anyone. The most formidable enemies are: swordfish, marlin, spike-tailed and diamond rays, other sharks, primarily relatives.

But only sharks are the first to attack, and this rarely happens, so tiger sharks have few worthy opponents. But this is if we limit ourselves only to those that can measure their strength with them and enter into a direct fight, and there are others that are much more dangerous for this fish.

One of the worst enemies of the tiger shark is the hedgehog fish . It is quite small and does not attack itself, but if a tiger shark swallows it, then already inside the predator this fish becomes a prickly ball and pierces the shark's insides, which often leads to death. Parasites are another common cause of shark deaths.

People also exterminate a large number of them – perhaps it is from human hands that the bulk of these predators die. In this case, everything is fair: the shark is also not averse to feasting on humans – dozens of attacks occur every year, because tiger sharks tend to swim in crowded places.

Interesting fact: the tiger shark is so promiscuous in food because her gastric juice has a very high acidity, allowing her to digest a lot. In addition, after some time after each meal, she simply burps undigested leftovers – so sharks usually do not suffer from stomach problems. If you haven't swallowed a hedgehog fish.

Population and species status

Photo: Tiger Shark

Photo: Tiger Shark

Tiger sharks are a commercial species, their liver and dorsal fins are especially highly valued. Their skin is also used, and the meat is eaten. In addition, sometimes they are hunted just for sport, some fishermen dream of catching such a formidable fish.

Catch limits have not yet been established, since their population is quite high, and they cannot be classified as rare species . At the same time, due to active fishing, their population is decreasing, in some seas to critical values.

Therefore, although the species as a whole is still far from the threat of extinction, but environmental organizations are trying to limit the extermination of these predators: if it continues at the same pace, their entry into the Red Book will be inevitable. Tiger sharks are not kept in captivity: many attempts were made, but all failed because they quickly died.

Fun fact: Tiger sharks are one of the most popular targets for sport fishing. Catching such a fish is very difficult, and besides, it is considered a dangerous occupation (although with proper preparation, the risk is minimized). Therefore, the tiger shark, along with other predatory sharks, is a very prestigious trophy, included in the unspoken “big five” along with swordfish, sailfish, large species of tuna and marlin.

Forever the hungry tiger shark is one of the most perfect predators of the sea. The features of their structure are very interesting, they are taken into account when designing ships, aircraft and other equipment – evolution has generously endowed these fish with advantages that allow them to manage the seas, and not all of their secrets have been revealed so far.

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