Quiz: Can You Identify These Different Types of Sharks?: HowStuffWorks
Can You Identify These Different Types of Sharks?
By: Brittany Rowland
6 Min Quiz
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!
Image Source / Image Source / Getty Images
People were scared to go in the ocean after seeing this shark on the big screen in 1975. Can you name it?
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.
EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER / E+ / Getty Images
This shark is the largest living fish species. Can you identify it?
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!
Ken Kiefer 2 / Image Source / Getty Images
Beware: This aggressive shark can travel up rivers! What is it?
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.
Alastair Pollock Photography / Moment / Getty Images
The stripes on the back of this shark should be a clue to its name!
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.
Cat Gennaro / Moment / Getty Images
Which type of shark regularly returns to shallow nursery grounds to mate and give birth?
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.
Deep Marine Scenes
Can you guess this shark's name based on its gaping maw?
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.
Wiki Commons by NOAA Observer Project
Which tiny shark can bite a neat, round chunk out of larger prey?
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.
Ken Kiefer 2 / Cultura / Getty Images
This shark has a distinctive flat head that extends to the sides. What is it called?
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.
Tom Brakefield / Stockbyte / Getty Images
Can you name this shark, which has a spade-shaped head?
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.
Wiki Commons by Jason Quinn
Despite its name, this shark has a spotted pattern on its back. Can you identify it?
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.
Mgokalp / Moment / Getty Images
Don't be alarmed by its name: This spotted shark is not a threat to humans.
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.
NiCK / Moment Open / Getty Images
Which shark is known for its long, scythe-like tail?
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.
Wiki Commons by Hemming1952
Scientists believe this shark can live to be 300 to 500 years old! Can you name it?
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.
No, you don't have to salute when you see this shark, which lives around Australia. What's its name?
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.
By wildestanimal / Moment Open / Getty Images
No, Charles Darwin didn't name this shark, but good guess. What's it called?
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.
Corbis/VCG / Corbis / Getty Images
Which shark comes in second place for size, after the whale 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.
Wiki Commons by Daiju Azuma
My, what sharp, needle-like teeth you have! Which eel-like shark lives at great ocean depths?
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.
RainervonBrandis / E+ / Getty Images
These sharks are quite sedentary, and despite their name won't even give you a Band-Aid when you're hurt. What are they?
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.
James R.D. Scott / Moment / Getty Images
You don't want to mess with this shark, which has six rows of teeth on its lower jaw! What is it?
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!
James R.D. Scott / Moment / Getty Images
The shortfin variety of this shark is common but the longfin less so. Can you name this 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.
Douglas Klug / Moment Open / Getty Images
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!
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.
Wiki Commons by Happy Little Nomad
Which type of shark is an apex predator and eats a wide variety of prey, including sea turtles and other sharks?
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.
Wiki Commons by Bennett Graff
You can actually find these sharks in some home aquariums due to their small size. What are they?
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.
Wiki Commons by Tambja
You could hold this shark in the palm of your hand! What's its name?
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.
Jupiterimages / PHOTOS.com>> / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images
This shark's snout resembles a common tool used for cutting wood. What is it?
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).
This type of shark is harmless, but we doubt you'll hear it purr. Can you identify it?
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.
James R.D. Scott / Moment Open / Getty Images
Which shark is viviparous (has live births) and is also called the brown 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.
What, a shark out of water? This type of shark can, indeed, survive on land for several hours.
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.
Gerard Soury / Stockbyte / Getty Images
Don't try to grab this shark — it has venomous spines! Can you identify it?
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.
Wiki Commons by OldakQuill
Can you name this shark, sometimes called the silvertip 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.
Peter Pinnock / Photographer's Choice RF / Getty Images
Even though it's related to the great white, this shark is relatively docile and harmless to humans. What is it?
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.
Wiki Commons by Jean-Lou Justine
The name of this shark describes its signature hunting move. Can you guess what it is?
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.
How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!
Get smarter every day! Subscribe & get 1 quiz every week.
Playing quizzes is free! We send trivia questions and personality tests every week to your inbox. By clicking "Sign Up" you are agreeing to our
and confirming that you are 13 years old or over.