Cartilaginous Fishes

This group of fishes includes rays, sharks and related species, and they owe their name to the fact that their internal skeleton is formed only by cartilage.


They have a fusiform body and lateral gill openings. They are marine animals (although some can swim up estuaries) and are distributed throughout the world comprising some 403 species. Most sharks hunt aquatic swimming animals, being the maximum representative the great white shark, which can reach over 6 meters long and is the cause of the highest number of accidents with humans. Other large species are plankton filters, such as the Whale Shark, which can reach 20 meters in length.


Its body is extremely flattened, with the eyes at the top of the head and the gill openings at the bottom. The pectoral fins surround the body laterally, giving a quadrangular or rhombic shape. The tail is thin, and some species have a poisonous sting in its base. There are 534 species, the majority being marine. Most rays live at the bottom of the sea and search for food on it. The extremely large rays of the Manta genus feed differently, swimming with the mouth open near the surface and thus capturing all kind of small organisms.

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