The Aquatic organisms play a huge role in the food chain and they are useful for humans too. There are different kinds of species that roam the salty waters for a long time and they can’t able to survive in another habitat. Likewise today we’re going to see about Greenland Shark and some facts about them.
A picture of Greenland Shark
Greenland shark is a 24 feet long fish that belongs to the family of Dalatiidae. Their average lifetime is a century. They can even outlive a century. The highest lifetime of a Greenland shark is 400 years and it roams around Scotland, Portugal, Greenland, etc. They do have a special gene and with that, they can able to live long enough and survive any diseases. Sperm whales prey on Greenland sharks. Their age can be calculated by using radiocarbon dating of their eye lens. They have fins for swimming, gills for respiration, typical tail fin larger on top and small on the bottom to prevent from sinking. They are watched over remotely operated cameras in ocean depth.
They are mostly found under 3900 feet of cold North Atlantic and Arctic regions. Their skeletons are so soft and flexible. They have a slow movement speed but they can also take a quick pace when they needed to. Due to their cold surrounding, they grow slower in height. Like 1cm a year. They require a temperature of -1 to 10 degrees Celcius. Their average height can be around 21 ft and their maximum height is 24 ft. They weigh around 1025 kg. Greenland sharks are scavengers in nature. They feed on a variety of livestock like Fish, Seabirds, and Seals. Sometimes they eat drowned polar bears, and Reindeer too. They can eat any meat even if it’s alive or dead.
They come to the surface only at the time of winter and spend the hot summer season in the sea depths because of the cold water. They attain their reproductive maturity at the age of 150. They are Ovoviviparous. It means that they lay eggs inside their body and hatch them inside. The embryos receive nourishment from a yolk sac while they are inside.
A parasite in sharks eye
Due to their slow movement, parasites latch on to them, Most sharks go blind because of a sea parasite called Copepod. They latch on to the tail and reach to the head. The parasite clings onto the eye tissue and starts feeding on them which leads the shark to go blind. But the sharks do have a good smell sense and with that, they survive the blindness.
Due to their adaptation to cold surroundings, they don’t do any harm to humans. But some news tells us that they found human legs inside them, so it is safer for us to be aware.
Shark swimming underwater
People started fishing Greenland Shark in the year 1960 in a larger amount for their liver oil. Their longer lifespan and slower reproduction make the species vulnerable and endangered. Their flesh is poisonous but it can be turned edible by constant boiling or drying their skin. Their meat is served as a delicacy in countries like Iceland. And they are also used for feeding Sled dogs. People who tried the recipe describe that the food looks like cheesy texture and red meat. The taste is like eating an old blue cheese. They are also targeted for synthetic oils. By being the large fish in the Arctic region they are considered Apex predators.
By being deep divers in the water they are rare to see on the surface and it is a disappointment for tourist who chooses Greenland for vacation. The species is now nearly threatened and it is on the list of Red Endangered species of IUCN. So let’s be responsible and let other species live and help them from extinction.