August 04, 2021
Certainly, some of your fondest family memories are times with your cousins. From family vacations to holiday seasons you may even consider your cousins some of your closest (and maybe favorite) relatives. While humans use historic records to track their family tree, the animal kingdom too has a web of family members, including sharks and stingrays. Surely, these are two animals that might have a different cousin relationship than what you’re familiar with, but like you and your closest cousin they still have a lot in common.
There are hundreds of shark and stingray species in the world. In fact, there are 400 known species of sharks and more than 500 ray species. At Adventure Aquarium, you’ll meet 12 species of sharks, including a great hammerhead, black tip reef and sand tiger sharks, featured in Ocean Realm and Shark Realm and eight species of rays including cownose, leopard, Atlantic, rough tail and southern stingrays.
Sharks and rays are part of the Chondrichthyes taxonomic classification (try saying that three times fast!). That is a big fancy term just meaning “made of cartilage” – the same material your nose and ears are made of. Instead of bone, their skeletons are cartilaginous.
Sharks and rays typically have oversized or large livers compared to other animals of similar size. The oil in their livers can help them control their buoyancy.
Some sharks like our sand tiger sharks can occasionally seen gulping for air at the surface. They swallow this air to help them become more positively buoyant and they "belch" it out to become more negatively buoyant.