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Naming and shaming the world’s most ridiculous sharks



Lots of people are frightened of sharks. That makes some sense if you think all sharks are relentless man-eating teeth-machines, but in reality the vast majority of them are much more scared of us, or they should be. There are over 350 species of sharks around the world, but they don’t all get to grab the headlines or star in feature film franchises. Here’s a quick guide to the silliest-named sharks in our oceans.

First up, have to be the Wobbegongs. These bottom-dwelling sharks often end up as the fish in Australian fish and chips, and they characteristically have strongly-patterned bodies and weird wobbly knobbly tassels. That makes them look a bit beardy-weirdy. But I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s hard to be too fearful of a Tassled wobbegong, or the ferocious sounding Floral-banded wobbegong.

Keeping up with the bottom dwelling sharks, next up is the demonic sounding Ginger carpetshark. Carpetsharks are so-called because they have patterns that, er, look like carpets. It’s a bit busy for me, but I guess people have different tastes.

Catsharks are a whole subfamily of shark species; presumably they are called kittensharks when they are little. Ramping up the ridiculous then is the dodgily-titled Flaccid catshark (someone thought long and hard about that name) and its cousin the Lollipop catshark (I’m not making this up, honestly!).

Then there are lanternsharks, some of the tiniest of all sharks, which glow in the dark. Not to be outdone they have some fine names too, like the Splendid lanternshark, who sounds like a jolly nice chap.

Cookiecutter sharks are a bit more ferocious, biting chunks out of unsuspecting prey, rather than baking biscuits, whilst the Hidden angelshark lurks in the sand to pounce on passers-by.

In the Hammerhead family there is the Scoophead (handy for ice cream) and the Scalloped bonnethead (handy for period dramas).

The Porbeagle confusingly is not a cross between a porpoise and a beagle, but a cousin to the Great White. And the Gummy shark confusingly does have teeth, but arguably sounds more like a confectionary creation.

And the Slender weasel shark and Flapnose houndshark really need a rebrand.

My own particular favourite though, dredged up in my trawl of shark species, is the bizarrely titled Sulu gollumshark, a name that honours both Star Trek and Lord of the Rings: Oh my, it’s precious! It also generates a very geeky image of whoever dreamed up the name.

So sharks don’t just deserve our fear and loathing, they also need to be loved and understood.  They generally have much more to fear from us than we do from them. Along with the many other despicable things we do to the world’s shark species, we don’t have to give them embarrassingly-stupid names.

Willie Mackenzie is an Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace UK.

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

NEW: White Shark Interest Group Podcast Series – #003 – TOUCHING SHARKS



Third in an exciting podcast series from Ricardo Lacombe of the White Shark Interest Group.

Episode 3 of the White Shark Interest Group Podcast, Facebook’s largest White Shark specific group, covering science, conservation, news, photography, video and debate.

This episode features Melissa, Dirk, Javier and Ricardo discussing TOUCHING SHARKS and FREEDIVING WITH SHARKS. Is it OK to touch sharks? Does it do damage to the shark? What are the benefits of it for shark conservation efforts? How do modern day social media personalities like Ocean Ramsey differ from the pioneers who began the practice of touching and diving with Great Whites, like Andre Hartman, Michael Rutzen or Manny Puig? Always a hot topic!

Click the links below to listen to the podcast series on the following audio channels:

Join the group:



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Marine Life & Conservation

Review: David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet



Regular contributors, CJ & Mike from Bimble in the Blue, review the Netlix documentary: David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet

David Attenborough’s latest and arguably most important documentary to date is now showing on Netflix.  It is, in his own words, his “witness statement” of a unique life exploring and documenting the wonders of the natural world.

Attenborough looks back and realizes that the previously gradual changes he witnessed (animal species becoming harder to find and fewer wild spaces) have now become vastly more widespread and noticeable. As the human population increased, so has the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, while the amount of wilderness has decreased.  His conclusion: human activity and man-made climate change have accelerated the pace of biodiversity loss.  This not only imperils the majority of natural habitats and creatures on Earth, but also the very future of humankind.

From images of lush green landscapes we journey with him over time to revisit these places, now wastelands. One of the most haunting is the contrast between early footage of orangutans swinging through the rainforest, to recent images of an orangutan clinging onto a lone tree devoid of all but one branch in the wreckage of a deforested site. Attenborough then makes a statement that has stuck with me since watching “A Life On This Planet”: that though we undoubtably have an obligation to care for the natural world, it’s not just about saving other species.  It is about saving ourselves.  His drive and determination to advocate and spread this message as much as possible at the age of 94 is both impressive and humbling, yet Attenborough manages to make this serious subject an unexpectedly positive learning experience.

In the final chapter of the movie Attenborough turns from the bleak reality of the destruction of Earth’s biodiversity, and offers a lifeline of hope and positivity. We can, he tells us, reverse the damage we have caused, we can save our species and the wonders of the natural world, and it can be done with just a few conceptually simple actions.  It’s enough to enthuse even the most jaded and pessimistic of conservationists!  Attenborough has an amazing ability to awaken our love of the natural world and now he shows us our future is in our hands. It’s time to act.  But we must start now and it must be a united effort.

You don’t have to be a scuba diver to be impressed with the eloquence of David Attenborough’s words, or his powerful yet simple message. We are self-confessed Attenborough super fans, but I don’t think anyone could contest that this is a stunning 1 hour and 20 minutes of hard hitting brilliance. The film closes with the comment, “Who else needs to see it?” The answer is all of us.  We highly recommend this documentary to everyone. Put simply if you watch no other documentary this year, watch this one.

For more from CJ and Mike please visit their website here.

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