The marine wildlife of the Galapagos archipelago is known as a few of the most biodiverse on earth. On the list of vast selection of marine animals are 32 of the world’s 400-plus species of sharks. Actually, the waters that encircle the northwest of the chain, around Darwin and Wolf Islands, are so rich with these intriguing and much-maligned creatures it has been officially designated as the densest population on earth.
The Sharks of Galapagos
The most popular of all species within the waters surrounding the hawaiian islands will be the Scalloped Hammerhead, Bullhead and Whale sharks.
The Whale Shark is so named because of its imposing size and may grow up to a fantastic 18 meters long, although the common size is similar to 12 meters. Weighing up to 15-20 tonnes, these ocean giants prey on plankton, vacuuming up vast levels of water through their mouths and filtering it through their gills, within an ingenious and surprisingly delicate method called filter feeding.
At the other end of the scale range, the Bullhead Shark is the tiniest species of the spot, only growing to in regards to a meter long. It could be discovered by its small stature and unusual spotted markings on its back. This species is the the one that scientists know least about, because of its small range that only extends throughout the archipelago and elements of the west coast of Peru. Actually, although a study project happens to be underway, it’s yet to be determined if the Galapagos species is separate to the Peruvian one.
Named because of its highly distinctive hammer-shaped appearance, the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark can grow to around four meters and travels the waters around Wolf and Darwin Islands in large schools (up to 100 individuals) – mostly of the species to show this social behavior. The unusual side keeping its eyes affords it an extremely wide angle of view and excellent opportunities for spotting prey in the encompassing waters, but the downside is a blind spot directly before the top. The species feeds on small fish and invertebrates, but will also occasionally dine on smaller sharks.
Threats and Conservation
Along with the perils that include human intervention, including against the law fishing of the archipelago’s waters, the populace is under threat from global climatic influences, a decline of food sources and their own shortcomings in conditions of slow maturation and breeding.
Explore over a Galapagos Cruise and Assist in Conservation
Thankfully, you’ll find so many conservation efforts in destination to help protect the continued survival of the shark population of the Galapagos Islands and, indeed, across the world. Furthermore to education, memberships, and fundraising initiatives (including hammerhead adoption programmes), ecotourism (bringing visitors through on Galapagos cruise itineraries) is assisting to raise knowing of the threats that the species are facing.