Thursday 8 December 2011

Kitefin Shark

Oh dear.

Oh dear me, no.

It wasn't long after the Cookiecutter Shark that I discovered they have a big brother. It's in a different genus and dissimilar in many ways, but the Kitefin Shark is more closely related to the Cookiecutter than it is to any other shark. Also... TEETH!

The Kitefin has teeth on the upper jaw that are horrible in traditional, shark ways. The lower jaw, like the Cookiecutter, bears large, interlocking teeth that form a single surface of cutting.

The jaws are also short and heavy, allowing a very powerful bite.

Kitefins usually live near the ocean floor at depths between 200 and 600 metres (660–2,000 ft), but they have also been found near the surface and at depths as great as 1,800 m (5,900 ft). They can get several times bigger than a Cookiecutter, males up to 120 cm (47 in) long, females 160 cm (63 in).

Image: Wikipedia
With this size and power they are formidable predators of all manner of fish, cephalopods and most other things. They also have thick lips and gigantic, spooky eyes. It's like the inverse of a man-in-a-sheet ghost.

So, the question arises: do they bite chunks out of whales like a Cookiecutter? Really MASSIVE chunks? Horribly massive chunks of flesh out of whales? Nasty and disgusting chunks of living flesh? Blood dribbling down their...

(later that day...)

There is some suggestion that they do, perhaps with the aid of those chunky lips. It seems to be far from common, though. Unless it's just "not well documented", maybe because witnesses were traumatised into lifelong silence.

ARKive photo - Kitefin shark swimmingIt looks like the Cookiecutter gained all sorts of adaptations to be really good at committing those terrible acts, while the Kitefin has remained largely content with the usual "kill and destroy" tactics. Kitefins have no bioluminescence or suctorial lips and they don't regularly travel toward the surface to infiltrate moonlit territory.

On the one hand: Phew! On the other, it seems that the Cookiecutter could've made a perfectly respectable, death-dealing living even with those extraordinary gnashers. But it doesn't...


Anonymous said...

If I ever need dentures, I'm getting them modeled after this guy. I'll be able to eat ANYTHING!

Joseph JG said...

Hahahah! You could be Matter-Eater Girl!