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Sharks (superorder Selachimorpha) are a type of fish with a full cartilaginous …


Biology Articles » Zoology » Ichthyology » Physical characteristics of Sharks » Skin and dermal denticles

Skin and dermal denticles
- Physical characteristics of Sharks

Unlike bony fish, the sharks have a complex dermal corset made of flexible collagenous fibres and arranged as a helical network surrounding their body. This works as an outer skeleton, providing attachment for their swimming muscles and thus saving energy. A similar arrangement of collagen fibres has been discovered in dolphins and squid. Their dermal teeth give them hydrodynamic advantages as they reduce turbulence when swimming.

A few of the larger species, such as the shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus, and the great white, are mildly homeothermic - able to maintain their body temperature above the surrounding water temperature. This is possible because of the presence of the rete mirabile, a counter current exchange mechanism that reduces the loss of body heat.


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