The Elasmobranchii are a subclass of the Chondrichthyes, which comprises over 800 species. Chondrichthyes differ from bony fish by not having a ossified skeleton.
Elasmobranchii are divided into rays and sharks. Although there are about 50 species of sharks around the Canary Islands, only a few of them can be observed. The Angel Shark is spotted most frequently.
Elasmobranchii have five to seven gill gaps without gill covers. In addition, they have rows of teeth in which the teeth are permanently regrowth and replaced. Although Elasmobranchii have no swim bladder, they can maintain their buoyancy due to a fat liver.
Habitat and Distribution
Aside from 30 species Elasmobranchii live in salt water. They occur in all the world’s oceans. While some species tend to be found near the coast, others live in the open water or in the deep sea. Besides rays, there are also sharks that prefer to live near the ground.
Every year, only 5 people are killed by Sharks but over 100 million sharks are killed annually by human hands. The most cruel method is the shark fining. The sharks fins are cut off from the living body and the body is disposed of as garbage in the sea. Contrary to the common opinion, sharks are not only consumed in Asia, but also landed in European supermarkets under names such as sea eel and Schillerlocke. In addition, Europe has one of the world’s largest fishing fleets.
Sharks are contaminated with mercury, and even with low consumption, recommended limits are exceeded.
Rays on the Canary Islands
Sharks of the Canary Islands
More information on species, attacks and encounters you find in the article Sharks on the Canary Islands.
Sand Tiger Shark
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