Spooky Sharks

Looking for something to thrill you this Hallowmarine—er, we mean, Halloween? Consider these eerie and mysterious sharks.

Published October 21, 2019

There are plenty of creatures in the ocean that could be described as “spooky”—though we prefer “interesting.” None of the species we’re profiling below are particularly dangerous to humans—we just think they’re fascinating!

Wobbegong lurking.

Some of the strangest aquatic species are elasmobranchs- a subclass of cartilaginous fish that includes sharks, skates and rays. There’s no better group of marine animals to showcase for the month of October. So, grab your pillowcase or other reusable candy receptacle, bundle up, and read on for some spooky sharks…

Greenland Shark

In the far northern Atlantic Ocean, an ancient predator roams the depths. The Greenland shark moves slowly (never going faster than a leisurely 1.7 mph) and has been known to scavenge polar bear and moose. It can reach truly titanic sizes, up to 24 feet in length and weighing more than 3,100 pounds. Their flesh is toxic, smells like urine, and before consumption, must be treated to remove poisonous trimethylamine oxide (it is a delicacy in Iceland). Most eerie of all? This cold-water shark can live up to 400 years or more. That means there are Greenland sharks out there that are older than the United States.

Goblin Shark

Found around the globe, the pink-skinned goblin shark is a top contender for spookiest looking shark of all. Reaching lengths of up to 20 feet and clocking in at weights up to 460 pounds, this seldom-seen shark is most notable for its unique mouth. Normally, the goblin shark’s jaw rests beneath its long, flat snout… but when prey is within reach, the goblin throws its projecting jaw forward like a jack-in-the-box and gobbles its meal up.

Tasselled Wobbegong

Prey hardly ever sees the wobbegong shark coming for them. These nocturnal bottom dwellers are also known as carpet sharks, and for good reason—their flat profile is covered in camouflage and small whisker lobes that mimic seaweed, and fish and divers alike often don’t spot them at all. These well camouflaged sharks lie still, and use their tails to pure prey in. Once they bite, wobbegongs like to hold on!

If cool elasmobranchs are your thing, read about the critically endangered sawfish!

Previous Post

Featured Stories

Jellies in petri dish Welcome to the Jelly Jungle

Deep inside the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) building, the National Aquarium runs a little-known lab. Here we carry out the propagation of jellies, many of which later end up on exhibit in Jellies Invasion. Read on for a peek into the process!

Read the full story

Cold stunned turtle Cold Stunning: Where, How and Why?

Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.

Read the full story

Related Stories

How Do Marine Animals Weather Hurricanes?

Published October 17, 2019

Where Have All the Sharks Gone?

Published July 29, 2019