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Greenland shark

(Somniosus microcephalus)

blinded by an eye-eating parasite

Diet

Very varied diet from bony fish, to sharks, seals and porpoises, and even dead animals.

Habitat

Found in the Northern Atlantic and Arctic seas.

Fin-tastic facts

The Greenland shark lives in one of the most extreme environments. Temperatures frequently fall below zero, yet this shark thrives. It’s predicted that this shark could live to 200 years old, and its slow way of life means it expends little energy when scavenging for food - perhaps a drowned Polar bear or dead whale. But don’t be fooled, this shark is also an active hunter. It preys on seals that are sleeping in the ocean, trying to evade hungry Polar bears that hunt them on land, and actually feeds on them head first! Powerful suction means this shark can suck food into its mouth from over a metre away. It finds its food using its sense of smell, which is highly developed, and it’s thought this compensates for the shark being blind. The parasitic copepod ommatokoita elongata attaches itself to the cornea of these sharks and actually feeds off the eye!

The Greenland shark

The Greenland shark lives under the ice of the frozen Arctic ocean.