Can You Identify These Different Types of Sharks?

By: Brittany Rowland

Can You Identify These Different Types of Sharks?
Image: Trent Burkholder Photography / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Lots of people can't venture in the water without hearing that theme song (da-dum ... da-dum ... daaa-DUM) echoing in the back of their head. Let's face it: Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" frightened us so much because it tapped into that primal fear of the unknown. Swimming in the ocean, we have no idea what's lurking just below the surface. And great white sharks certainly look the part of a ferocious man-eating beast with cold, black eyes. But films like "Jaws" may have led people to unfairly demonize and fear all sharks, when in reality most shark species are harmless or only attack humans by mistake. Even great whites don't find humans particularly tasty.

In reality, humans are a greater danger to sharks than the other way around, due to fishing, pollution of oceans and habitat loss. Sharks have been around even longer than the dinosaurs, but in modern times, many species are under threat of extinction, which would be disastrous to the oceanic ecosystem. Thus, people need to respect sharks, learn about them and try to educate others about their importance! So sink your teeth into this fin-tastic quiz to see if you can identify 40 types of sharks! 

Great White Shark People were scared to go in the ocean after seeing this shark on the big screen in 1975. Can you name it?
Whale shark
Great white shark
The great white shark is certainly a formidable predator, largely due to its immense size: Some can grow up to 20 feet long! The only predator they seem to fear is the orca, also known as the killer whale.
Tiger shark
Mako shark

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Whale shark This shark is the largest living fish species. Can you identify it?
Whale shark
Despite their tremendous size, whale sharks are harmless to humans. As filter feeders, they eat plankton and tiny fish with their large gaping mouths. Some scientists believe they can live to be 130!
Goblin shark
Great white shark
Hammerhead shark

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Bull shark Beware: This aggressive shark can travel up rivers! What is it?
Bull shark
Because the bull shark can swim in both seawater and freshwater, it's been discovered as far as 700 miles up the Mississippi River. Bull sharks get their name for their bullish shape and temperament.
Tiger shark
Frilled shark
Greenland shark

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Tiger shark The stripes on the back of this shark should be a clue to its name!
Tiger shark
The fierce tiger shark comes in second place (after the great white) for fatal shark attacks on people. Its stripes fade over time, and the tiger shark can reach a length of 16 feet.
Hammerhead shark
Basking shark
Thresher shark

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Lemon shark Which type of shark regularly returns to shallow nursery grounds to mate and give birth?
Megamouth shark
Lemon shark
Lemon sharks tend to live in communities and travel back to the same location to reproduce. These nocturnal hunters use electroreceptors to find fish and pose no substantial risk to humans.
Nurse shark
Mako shark

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Megamouth shark Can you guess this shark's name based on its gaping maw?
Cookiecutter shark
Blacktip shark
Shortfin mako shark
Megamouth shark
So few megamouth sharks have been captured that scientists don't know too much about it, except that it's a filter feeder like the whale shark and basking shark. It has a bulbous head and a wide mouth.

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Cookiecutter shark Which tiny shark can bite a neat, round chunk out of larger prey?
Mako shark
Blue shark
Cookiecutter shark
Although reaching only 22 inches in length, the cookiecutter shark is not afraid to take a bite or two out of much larger animals. It gets its name from the way it extracts "plugs" of flesh from prey.
Leopard shark

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Hammerhead shark This shark has a distinctive flat head that extends to the sides. What is it called?
Salmon shark
Sandbar shark
Porbeable shark
Hammerhead shark
Hammerhead sharks are unique in that they swim together in schools in the daytime and hunt alone at night. Scientists believe the shark's hammer-like head gives it 360-degree vision.

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Bonnethead shark Can you name this shark, which has a spade-shaped head?
Bonnethead shark
We suppose the bonnethead's head may resemble a bonnet, although it could also be described as a shovel or a taco! This shark only grows to about three feet in length and eats plants as well as fish.
Angel shark
Sawshark
Dusky shark

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Zebra shark Despite its name, this shark has a spotted pattern on its back. Can you identify it?
Galapagos shark
Zebra shark
While young zebra sharks have a stripe pattern, those stripes morph into spots as the shark ages. Zebra sharks spend their days lying still on the ocean floor but come out to hunt at night.
Sand shark
Angel shark

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Leopard shark Don't be alarmed by its name: This spotted shark is not a threat to humans.
Leopard shark
Named for the distinctive spots and "saddles" on its back, the leopard shark swims in schools, usually at night. Although they're commonly spotted near the coasts, they don't threaten humans.
Blue shark
Bluntnose sixgill shark
Sand tiger shark

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Thresher shark Which shark is known for its long, scythe-like tail?
Blacktip shark
Nurse shark
Greenland shark
Thresher shark
The solitary thresher shark lives in temperate and tropical oceans. It's named for its long tail, which is often as long as the shark's body. Threshers use this tail to stun prey.

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Greenland Shark Scientists believe this shark can live to be 300 to 500 years old! Can you name it?
Greenland shark
Researchers used radiocarbon dating to determine that Greenland sharks are the longest-living vertebrates in the world. They can grow up to 24 feet long, and they live in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
Frilled shark
Sandbar shark
Epaulette shark

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Epaulette shark No, you don't have to salute when you see this shark, which lives around Australia. What's its name?
Whitespotted bamboo shark
Epaulette shark
The epaulette shark has distinctive spots behind its fins, calling to mind the epaulettes on military uniforms. These sharks primarily live in the warm waters around Australia and New Guinea.
Dwarf lantern shark
Horn shark

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Galapagos shark No, Charles Darwin didn't name this shark, but good guess. What's it called?
Galapagos shark
The scientists who named this shark found it in the Galapagos Islands, hence the name. The shark can reach about 10 feet in length and likes to snack on bony fish, octopuses and squids.
Spinner shark
Angel shark
Port Jackson shark

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Basking shark Which shark comes in second place for size, after the whale shark?
Hammerhead shark
Frilled shark
Basking shark
Along with the whale shark and megamouth, the basking shark eats primarily plankton as a filter feeder. And while it can grow up to 26 feet long, it's a slow swimmer and not an aggressive species.
Goblin shark

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Frilled shark My, what sharp, needle-like teeth you have! Which eel-like shark lives at great ocean depths?
Frilled shark
It's a good thing this shark typically stays thousands of feet underwater, because it looks simply terrifying! The frilled shark has a long, eel-like body and a stretchy mouth that lets it eat prey whole.
Mako shark
Blacktip shark
Oceanic whitetip shark

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Nurse shark These sharks are quite sedentary, and despite their name won't even give you a Band-Aid when you're hurt. What are they?
Lemon shark
Sand tiger shark
Blue shark
Nurse shark
Don't underestimate the nurse shark! Even though it tends to be slow and inactive, it ranks fourth in shark attacks on people. Nurse sharks are brown in color and grow up to 10 feet long.

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Bluntnose sixgill shark You don't want to mess with this shark, which has six rows of teeth on its lower jaw! What is it?
Leopard shark
Bluntnose sixgill shark
As the name suggests, the bluntnose sixgill shark has a blunt snout and six gills — and can grow up to 26 feet long! This shark also has fluorescent blue-green eyes, the better to terrify its prey!
Mako shark
Sandbar shark

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Mako shark The shortfin variety of this shark is common but the longfin less so. Can you name this shark?
Mako shark
There are two types of mako sharks alive today: shortfin and longfin. A type of mackerel shark, the mako is blue and grey in color. The shortfin mako is the fastest shark, reaching speeds of 42 mph.
Salmon shark
Great hammerhead shark
Sawshark

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Angel shark Can you name the shark that resembles a stingray and hides in the sand to catch prey? You won't find a halo on this one!
Angel shark
With is flat body and wide pectoral fins, the angel shark looks like a ray. The shark lies motionless in the sand until the prey is overhead; then it lunges upward and captures its meal.
Porbeagle shark
Caribbean reef shark
Dwarf lantern shark

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Dusky shark Which type of shark is an apex predator and eats a wide variety of prey, including sea turtles and other sharks?
Spinner shark
Horn shark
Epaulette shark
Dusky shark
Dusky sharks have no natural predators — except for humans. Because dusky sharks have slow reproductive cycles, they're vulnerable to being overfished. They will also eat anything, including garbage.

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Whitespotted bamboo shark You can actually find these sharks in some home aquariums due to their small size. What are they?
Dwarf lantern shark
Horn shark
Whitespotted bamboo shark
Whitespotted bamboo sharks grow to only 24 to 37 inches, so some people keep them as pets. They have an easily recognizable appearance, with a round snout, narrow body, brown stripes and white spots.
Common thresher shark

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Dwarf lanternshark You could hold this shark in the palm of your hand! What's its name?
Port Jackson shark
Dwarf lantern shark
Growing only about seven inches, the dwarf lantern shark is the smallest known shark in the world. Most are found in the Caribbean near Colombia and Venezuela. Females have two or three pups at a time.
Hammerhead shark
Broadnose sevengill shark

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Sawfish This shark's snout resembles a common tool used for cutting wood. What is it?
Caribbean reef shark
Grey reef shark
Sawfish
Even though this shark stays pretty deep, it's well known for its long snout edged with teeth, giving it a saw-like appearance. The shark uses this saw to disable its prey (and sometimes predators).
Blacktip shark

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Blacktip shark Females of this shark species are able to reproduce asexually! Can you name the shark?
Sand tiger shark
Pacific sleeper shark
Grey reef shark
Blacktip shark
Blacktip sharks get their name from the black coloring on the tips of their fins. They can leap out of the water to catch fish, and females return to the place of their birth to reproduce themselves.

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Pacific sleeper shark Despite its name, this shark is no slouch when it comes to catching prey. Can you name it?
Pacific sleeper shark
The Pacific sleeper shark is a stealthy predator because of the way it effortlessly glides through deep waters. It uses suction to draw food into its mouth and chops it up with spiky teeth.
Bonnethead shark
Longfin mako shark
Horn shark

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Horn shark Can you identify the small, spotted shark that lives off North America's West Coast?
Catshark
Horn shark
The horn shark has a distinctive appearance with ridges over the eyes and spots over its brown or grey body. It is typically active at night and will leave humans alone if the favor is returned!
Port Jackson shark
Galapagos shark

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Port Jackson shark If you spot this shark found exclusively around Australia, you can just say g'day and not worry about an attack. What is it?
Port Jackson shark
The Port Jackson shark lives in the waters around Australia and migrates south for summers and north for winters. Its distinctive markings make it look like it's wearing a harness.
Catshark
Longfin mako shark
Whitespotted bamboo shark

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Catshark This type of shark is harmless, but we doubt you'll hear it purr. Can you identify it?
Zebra shark
Caribbean reef shark
Dusky shark
Catshark
Catsharks live in tropical and temperate waters around the world and may have earned their name from their cat-like eyes. Most catsharks are small and have patterns of spots or stripes.

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Sandbar shark Which shark is viviparous (has live births) and is also called the brown shark?
Salmon shark
Sandbar shark
Although the sandbar shark somewhat resembles bull sharks, it's typically harmless to humans. It prefers to eat rays, fish and crabs and must watch out for predators like tiger sharks and great whites.
Wobbegong shark
Bluntnose sixgill shark

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Wobbegong shark These camouflaged sharks lurk on the seabed waiting for unsuspecting prey. Do you know what they're called?
Thresher shark
Sand tiger shark
Wobbegong shark
Wobbegongs live around Australia and Indonesia; their name comes from the Aboriginal word for "shaggy beard" due to the "whiskers" around the mouth. Wobbegongs rest on the seafloor and ambush fish.
Goblin shark

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Goblin shark If this shark looks like the stuff of nightmares, then you can guess how it got its name! What is it called?
Goblin shark
The goblin shark looks like it auditioned for a role in "Alien." The pinkish shark has a long, pointy snout and jaws that extend to gobble prey. Lucky for us, goblin sharks are rare.
Nurse shark
Spiny dogfish shark
Basking shark

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Bramble shark Pee-yew! Which shark has a thick layer of smelly mucus covering its skin?
Carpet shark
Angel shark
Bramble shark
The bramble shark has a cylindrical form that tapers at the head. People rarely bump into this shark because it usually stays at great depths (up to 3,000 feet), feeding on fish and other sharks.
Cow shark

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Blue shark These sharks sometimes give birth to 100 pups at a time! Can you identify it?
Blue shark
So named because of their blue color on top, blue sharks have large round eyes and a slender build. Blue sharks eat smaller sharks, but they too find themselves hunted by tiger sharks.
Whale shark
Frilled shark
Shortfin mako shark

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Brownbanded bamboo shark What, a shark out of water? This type of shark can, indeed, survive on land for several hours.
Spiny dogfish shark
Wobbegong shark
Brown-banded bamboo shark
Young brown-banded bamboo sharks have thick brown bands, the adults tend to lose this pattern. This hardy shark makes it home in tidal pools and coral reefs, typically between Japan and Australia.
Oceanic whitetip shark

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Spiny dogfish shark Don't try to grab this shark — it has venomous spines! Can you identify it?
Bull shark
Thresher shark
Catshark
Spiny dogfish shark
The spiny dogfish has two spines near its dorsal fins that it uses defensively against predators. This aggressive shark prefers to hunt in large packs, sometimes numbering in the thousands.

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Oceanic whitetip shark Can you name this shark, sometimes called the silvertip shark?
Nurse shark
Oceanic whitetip shark
Residing in temperate and tropical waters, the oceanic whitetip shark takes part in feeding frenzies. If your ship or plane crashed in the sea, you'd be most worried about this shark.
Spiny dogfish shark
Sand tiger shark

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Sand tiger shark Even though it's related to the great white, this shark is relatively docile and harmless to humans. What is it?
Sand tiger shark
The sand tiger shark is unrelated to the more vicious tiger shark. It lives in sandy shorelines around the world and has the unique ability to gulp water, which helps it float effortlessly.
Angel shark
Nurse shark
Catshark

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Spinner shark The name of this shark describes its signature hunting move. Can you guess what it is?
Catshark
Dwarf lantern shark
Spinner shark
The spinner shark attacks schools of fish by swimming up vertically and spinning on its axis, leaping out of the water at the end. Because they swallow small fish whole, they usually leave humans alone.
Dusky shark

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