Sharks on the edge of existence

Meet the world's weirdest sharks. They are among the 50 species deemed most in need of conservation attention. Scientists say the animals are the most unique of their kind and losing them would wipe out millions of years of evolutionary history.

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Sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus)
Sand tiger sharks become hunters at an early age. Embryos develop teeth and can devour siblings in the womb, ensuring only the two largest pups are born.

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Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran)
A very large shark with a characteristic hammer-shaped head. Preys on a wide variety of marine life, including other sharks and rays. Vulnerable to overfishing and getting caught in nets.

SHUTTERSTOCK

Whale shark (Rhincodon typus)
The biggest fish in the sea, measuring up to 20m long. They are filter feeders - eating plankton, fish and shrimp. Little is known about how and where they reproduce.

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Angel shark (Squatina squatina)
The angel shark family is the most threatened of all the sharks and rays, following sawfishes. They can camouflage themselves like a chameleon. Their diet is mainly fish, skates, crustaceans and molluscs.

SHUTTERSTOCK

Zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)
Named after the black and white stripes they have as babies, which change to spots as they get older (so are also called leopard sharks). Solitary creatures and spend most of their life in the same area.

SHUTTERSTOCK

Largetooth sawfish (Pristis pristis)
Highest-ranked in terms of scarcity and uniqueness but hunted for their meat, teeth and skin for years. Ancient Mayas were buried with sawfish teeth and cowboy boots were once made from the skin.

SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY