Friday, 15 May 2015
I have recently been studying one of the most fascinating and unheard of creatures. It is one of the largest fish on the planet, yet most will never have heard its name.
The Greenland shark, as its name suggests, lives in the arctic region. It can grow to around 7 meters long, making it larger than many Great White sharks. It is however not quite as scary. It has a cruising speed of 0.5 mph and when it's really excited it can reach around 1.5mph.
It is thought to feed mainly on scavenged meat such as polar bears and reindeer, but does also eat seal and fish when it can get it. Due to the sharks slow speed it is thought that it can only catch seals which are asleep.
Another bizarre fact about the Greenland shark is that they are nearly all blind. This is due to a parasite called a Copepod. This lives exclusively in the eye of the Greenland shark and is thought to give the sharks eye a green luminescence. There is even a theory that the light attracts fish to the shark enabling it to suck the food in to its mouth.
It is the only shark that lives in the waters of the Arctic, enjoying temperatures of up to -2dgs. The extreme temperature they live in is in someway responsible for the most amazing fact about this shark. To survive in such conditions, the Greenland shark has had to lower its metabolism. The upshot of this is that they can live for 200 years, making them one of the longest living creatures on Earth.