Welcome to a blog now shared by one, two, um... four people. Wipe your shoes off on the mat and delve into the posts featuring rants, museum pictures, and some cool facts. Nerds of all kinds welcome.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Salmon Sharks: Because Who Needs What You Learned About Sharks Anyways?


I wish I had an excuse for being absent for long. I wish I could say I spent the last month bravely battling sea monsters on a cargo ship Europe-bound in the Atlantic. But sadly, sea monsters don't exist and I have no excuse then. However, we are going to the sea for today's blogpost. That shark above, which looks like one of those "realistically-drawn" cartoon characters that isn't realistic looking at all, goes by the name of the...


(dun dun dun)

Alright, alright, it's not the most terrifying shark ever. Maybe that honour belongs to a mako or a tiger shark or a bull shark or a great white. But as an Internet Samaritan, I can tell you some neataroony stuff on them, and I promise to never use "neataroony" again.

Radical? Maybe I should stop using ridiculous adjectives.

Its practically first grade biology: all fish are cold-blooded, just like reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. They're so stupid that they're not even endothermic. Bunch of losers, that's what they are. The salmon shark missed out on your 1st grade Biology class however and decided it didn't need to be ectothermic (look at me, throwing around big terms like I'm at Harvard). Why's that?

Because they live off the waters of frickin' Alaska.

Yes, the salmon shark lives in Alaskan waters, one of the few sharks to brave the cold (not as cold-adapted as the massive Greenland sleeper). Similar to great whites and makos, it is facultatively "warm-blooded" and in waters of 36 degrees F, its body temperate can be 61 degrees F. Pretty crazy. This feat is thanks to retia mirabilia, represented below in this fabulous dolphin model.

For those who might struggle reading it (remember to click the image), the hatching represents retia mirabilia. RM, as we'll call it for short, is a network of veins and arteries adjacent to each other, and is Latin for "wonderful nets". RM pretty much is in charge of how ions are exchanged in the blood stream, and are found in birds with webbed feet (in penguins' flippers and nasal passages too), many mammals, and several fish species, the salmon shark being one of those. It can be found in swim bladders of fish as well as muscular regions, the latter of which helps maintain body temperature. Its some pretty neat stuff. We were even thought to have RM once. We were promptly let down.

"They're too mainstream anyways."

Some other cursory information on salmon sharks in case your life ever depends on it. They can reach 10ft long with anecdotes of 14-footers, and can weigh up to 990lbs. They are nearly as swift as their mako cousins, reaching speeds of 50mph. They are named for eating salmon, but also dine on halibut, herring, sablefish, and squid. Got it? Got it.


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