There are over 520 shark species— a fifth of which have been found in the past decade. You’ve probably never heard of the tiny cookiecutter shark or the Arctic-dwelling Greenland shark, but that doesn’t mean these creatures aren’t worthy of your attention.
Not only are sharks beautiful—photographer Brian Skerry calls them “a blend of grace and power that lures me into the sea time after time”—they need our help. According to some estimates, 100 million sharks from a variety of species may be killed annually, mostly to feed China’s demand for shark fin soup, scientists say. Historically most fins have gone to southern China, where the soup is a popular wedding dish.
Here are six sharks that don’t need to be fearsome to be fascinating.
The bonnethead shark has something no other shark does — an appetite for leafy greens. Scientists recently discovered that seagrass can constitute as much as 50 percent of the bonnethead shark’s diet.
Photo: Smithsonian/Wikimedia Commons