The Greenland Shark

explanatory Essay
1285 words
1285 words

The Greenland Shark

Sharks live in almost every part of the oceans, from coastal environments to deep-sea habitats. They also live in the warm waters of the tropics to the cold frigid waters of

the polar region. The Greenland shark, also known as “somniousus Microcephalus,” lives in the dark, cold waters of the North Atlantic (I 65). The Greenland shark belongs to the order Squaliforms, more usually known as dogfish sharks. There are 70 species in this order, which includes the spied sharks, spiny dogfish, Sleeper sharks and lantern fish (I 50).

Greenland Shark Classification:

Kingdom: Anamalia

Phylum: Cordates (possessing a notochord)

Sub Phylum: Vertebrates (possessing a back bone)

Super Class: Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates)

Class: Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous skeleton)

Subclass: Elasmobranchas (ribbon like gills)

Super Order: Selachii or Selachimopha (shark shaped)

Order: Sqauliforms

Family: Sqaulidea

Species: somniousus Microcephalus (I 185)

The shark’s habitat largely depends on the water temperature this allows its

habitat that ranges from the Polar latitudes to the North Sea in the east and the St. Lawrence River in the West. The Greenland shark has also wonders south as far as the

waters off Cape Hatteras and has also been found in the Gulf of Maine. The shark usually lives in cool water ranging from 2-7deg Celsius (II 63). However the sharks has also been found in the waters in the Artic Circle. (I 65) Typically the Greenland sharks live at extreme depths. In the winter months the Greenland sharks can be found at the surface and at the edges of ice burgs and glaciers. The sharks will also enter fjords during these months. However in the warmer months of summer, the sharks dives back to depths and lives at an average depth of 100-400 fathoms and has been caught in water as deep as 600 fathoms (II 63). Depending on season and water temperature, the shark’s habitat moves.

The diet of a Greenland will eat almost anything that it will come across. With its

slow swimming body plan, it includes bottom living shellfish, but it also hunts seals,

porpoises and other small whales and sea birds at the surface in its diet (I 65). These sharks also eats many kinds of fish, such as capelin, char, herring, halibut, lumpfish and even salmon. There has even been fast swimming fish found with its tail bitten off inside ...

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...heir vision is not needed at that depth in the dark water (I 77). These parasites might actually help the sharks. These parasites are biolumiscent and they might attract those fast swimming fish to the oral side of the shark. With out these parasites it is possible that the sharks could not catch as many fish as it does, due to its slow speed. On top of the parasites on its eyes, the Greenland shark also has poisonous flesh. To get rid of the poison n order to eat it, the flesh must be boiled and dried several times (II 63). If the meat is not prepared correctly, it can cause, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, tingling and burning sensation of tongue, throat and esophagus. It can also cause muscular cramps, respiratory distress, coma and death (III Vol 25, 905). This shark may not kill you when it’s alive, but you have to careful when it’s dead.


1. Parker, Steve and Jane. The Encyclopedia fo Sharks. A Firefly Book: Buffalo, 1999.

2. Castro, Jose. THe Sharks of the North American Waters. Texas Univerisity Press: US, 1983.

3. Britanica, 15th Edition. Micropedia: Chicago, 1990.

4. Allen, Thomas B. The Shark Almanac. Lyoness Press: NY, 1999.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the greenland shark eats porpoises and other small whales and sea birds at the surface in its diet.
  • Explains that eskimos in the area of the greenland shark have been fishing and using them for centuries.
  • Explains castro, jose, the sharks of the north american waters, texas univerisity press, 1983.
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