How Do Sharks Breathe?

October 20, 2017
1 min read

As a shark sails underwater, it takes in water into its mouth. This water passes over the gills of these fishes and then seeps out of it thanks to the gill slits on either side of the shark. It is often referred to as passive breathing or more precisely ram ventilation.

Unlike other fishes, sharks have five gill slits or at times more than that. Water must continually pass over them in order for these fishes to breathe. Gill filaments contain tiny blood vessels. As you know, oxygen is present in seawater and as it passes over its gills, the oxygen is transferred to the blood vessels of the gill openings. There are very small thin membranes inside the gill filaments that ooze carbon dioxide and sucks up oxygen.

The bottom-dwelling sharks like Whitetip reef shark and Nurse shark as well as skates and rays have to pump this oxygen-bearing water into their mouth. However, some of these species also have spiracles on the top of their head with the help of which they pump water into their mouth. Not all sharks have spiracles sure enough which further means that they cannot take a break at the bottom of the sea.

Therefore, those sharks that lack spiracles have to keep swimming or else they die. This is because such sharks can’t breathe while motionless (due to lack of spiracles) and for that reason, they must keep sailing underwater so that they may pump more and more oxygen-bearing water which eventually seeps out through their gill openings.

Latest from Blog

Cane Rat (Thryonomyidae)

Cane rats are robust rodents with stocky bodies, small ears, and short tails; body covered with sharply pointed, but pliable, spiny hairs; broad, heavily built orange-colored chisel-shaped incisors, with the upper ones grooved longitudinally at the front. They will make habitats in grasslands and wooded savanna. What Do Cane Rats…

What Do Antbirds Eat?

Antbirds (Formicariidae) are small to medium-sized songbirds with short, rounded wings, a short or long tail, and a stout or slender bill slightly hooked at the tip, feed on insects on the ground or in trees or thickets; prey is usually gleaned from foliage, although some species also catch flying…

Where Do Mountain Beavers Live?

Mountain beavers do not hibernate and so are active throughout winter. They are primarily nocturnal but are frequently active for short periods during the day. Mountain Beaver Habitat Habitats used by mountain beavers vary, but are typically forests with dense patches of herbs and shrubs. This vegetation supplies not only…

What Do Pangolins Eat?

Pangolins love munching on bugs, especially ants and termites. They sniff out their insect feasts, and sometimes the big pangolins go for the larger bugs. What’s on the menu can change depending on what’s available or the time of year. What Do Pangolins Eat? Pangolins can be a bit choosy,…

Proper Nutrition for Pets

Pet care is a complicated topic, as it is challenging to come to a single opinion. However, most owners will agree that the choice of food has a substantial impact on the condition of cats and dogs. Since much depends on the correct determination of needs, it is worth paying…
Go toTop