Sharks are a species of fish that has lived in the Earth’s oceans for hundreds of millions of years.
Under the broadest possible definition sharks date back to some 420 million years ago, a time long before the evolution of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, or birds.
Truly, they are one of the great survivors in evolutionary history, with over four hundred species of shark alive today.
Sharks can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but they have entered the human consciousness as apex predators that dominate the seas.
This is largely due to a popular culture that depicts sharks as mindless eating machines (thank you, Jaws!), whereas the reality is a little different.
Great whites might prowl the seas, but equally so do the 17cm long dwarf lantern shark!
You might be wondering, however, for an animal that is so represented in popular culture, what a group of sharks is known as. This is probably due to portrayals (yes, you again Jaws!) that depict sharks as solo killers. In reality, sharks often cluster together in groups.
So, what is a group of sharks called?
We’ll answer that question in this article, along with giving you a few other facts about our misunderstood friend, the shark.
Before finding out what a group of sharks is called, let’s first talk some more about them! Here are some of the coolest facts to know about sharks.
- Sharks are a cartilaginous fish in the class Elasmobranchii. Cartilaginous fishes are fishes that have skeletons primarily composed of cartilage, as opposed to the bony fishes that have skeletons primarily composed of bone tissue.
- The biggest fish species in the world is also the largest shark existing shark species. No, it’s not the great white! Appropriately, the biggest fish species in the world is called the Whale Shark. These sharks can grow up to 65ft in length and weigh up to 75,000 pounds! They’re not bloodthirsty predators, though. Found in the warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, whale sharks eat tiny, microscopic creatures called plankton. Basking sharks, the second largest species of shark (and fish), eat the same thing.
- Sharks have an extraordinarily keen sense of smell. Ok, so you probably knew this one, but did you realize just how powerful a shark’s smell is? Some species can detect as little as one part of blood per million in seawater and can smell it from hundreds of meters away!
- Sharks have a sixth sense. This sense, electro-perception, allows them to detect the small electric field emitted by living creatures even if they are hidden under the sand.
- Sharks have a LOT of teeth. A great white shark has around 300 teeth at any one time. Because shark teeth fall out and are replaced regularly, a single shark can have as many as 30,000 teeth in their lifetime!
- On that note, a shark’s lifetime can be very long. Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how long sharks live and have only studied the ages of a tiny fraction of shark species. However, it is known that the Greenland Shark is the Earth’s longest-living vertebrate, racking up a whopping 272 years.
Do Sharks Live In Groups?
There is a lot we have yet to discover about shark behavior, and in fact sharks in general. However, what we do know is that the image of the ‘lone shark’ stalking the oceans alone is at best a half-truth.
Whilst it’s true that most sharks tend to live alone most of the time- even young sharks have to look out for themselves practically from birth- there are plenty of occasions when sharks do gather together in groups.
Of course, sharks gather to mate, and some species like the blacknose shark and the sand tiger shark do this in small groups.
Some species, like the white shark, will swim together in couples for some time after mating. Other sharks, like the lemon shark, have even been found to congregate deliberately to socialize.
The most common form of shark gathering, perhaps unsurprisingly, centers around food. Hammerhead sharks, for instance, will gather in groups of up to a hundred or more in areas where food is particularly abundant.
So, what is a group of sharks called?
What Is a Group of Sharks Called?
There are a few different names for a group of sharks.
The first and definitely coolest is a ‘shiver’. This name came into being from what would be anyone’s natural response to seeing a group of sharks. It would send a shiver down your spine! It might also be related to sharks’ blood, which is of course cold.
A group of sharks is also quite often called a school, or occasionally a shoal or a gam. This is because these are all terms that are used to apply to groups of other ocean creatures, be they fish or mammals like whales and dolphins.
A final, shark-specific term for a group of sharks is a frenzy. You will have heard of the term ‘feeding frenzy’ and this term very much applies to a group of sharks feeding together.
This term can also be used for when they are not feeding, such is the correlation between sharks and eating in the popular consciousness.
What About Baby Sharks?
No, not the song! A baby shark is known as a pup. As we discussed earlier sharks are independent from the moment they are born, but shark pups often are born and congregate in a certain area.
When that happens, you’ve got yourself a shark nursery!
Sharks have a reputation for living alone, but that isn’t always true. Sharks often congregate in groups in order to mate, feed, and travel.
A group of sharks is most often called a shiver, though you might also see it called a school, shoal, or gam. Shark offspring are known as pups, and a congregation of pups is known as a shark nursery.