The Grappler Shark Ashton boukzam, period5

The Grappler Shark is also referred to as the "Grapil Selachimorpha". Grapil is from Old French, the verb is from the 1520s, and it means "seize and hold fast". Selachimorpha, (or Selachii), which means shark, are the sister groups to the rays. The etymology of the word shark is uncertain.

Physical traits and the adaptions to environment: The Grappler Shark has many different traits. This shark changes colors to match the environment its in, it has a flat stomach to lay on the ground, his head can rotate 360 degrees, its tongue is shaped as a spear and can launch it out of its mouth to up ~7 feet at lightning speed. The Grappler shark has strong and powerful feet to dig with- to lay camouflaged within the sand. The shark has large looking eyes to spot prey from several feet away and can easily spot creatures in the dark. This sharks deadly tongue is also coated with a deadly poison. The shark has gills, as well as a big tail to help it swim faster than it can while in threatening situations. Its is also about 3 feet long, with a giant mouth.

Ocean Zone and Habitat: The Grappler Shark lives in the Benthic and Pelagic zone, but mainly near the ocean floor, this shark also lives in the Neritic zone. The shark spends most of the day laying beneath the sand waiting patiently for prey. It spends the rest of the day in its home which is in caverns under rocks or coral. This shark receives lots of sunlight, and lives in a more heated environment with a high temperature, in the Euphotic zone. The salinity level of the water cannot be too high but the water is still relatively salty. The pressure in the Epipelagic zone is also relatively low and the shark has adapted to it laying on the bottom. The pH of the water must be around 8, and the substrate, or what the seafloor is made out of is usually just sand but in some cases reef.

Locomotion: The Grappler Shark moves very slowly on the ocean floor using its legs gently walking to its next place to dig a hole and stalk its prey. When in dangerous situations the Grappler Shark can use its big tail to swim a little faster than it does compared to it walking, but that puts a big strain on the sharks body.

Respiration: The Grappler Shark has gills and extracts oxygen out of the water surrounding it, it receives lots of oxygen living in the Euphotic zone. Without these gills this shark wouldn't be able to live on the seafloor where he gets food and the shelter he needs to survive.

Feeding: The Grappler Shark is a carnivore and has a very unique way of catching his prey. This shark is an ambush predator and stays camouflaged underneath the sand patiently waiting for his prey. The shark hunts whatever comes into his line of sight which is a decent size meal, (examples: triggerfish and mangrove jacks). When the fish comes in line of sight the shark opens its mouth and turns its head facing the prey, when it has a good line of sight the shark shoots its ~ 7 foot long tongue out of its mouth at lighting speed, the tongue has a point at the end of it and shoots it directly into its prey. The tongue goes through the fish and comes out the other side, this tongue is very special it is coated with venom that poisons its prey and when it goes through something it has retractable spikes making it so that the tongue stays inside the fish and won't come out. If the fish is big its easier for the shark to let the poison come in and take place but either way the shark then starts retracting its tongue back towards it mouth where the shark then devours the prey. After eating its prey the fish then moves on to another location and resets the patient process.

Reproduction: The male Grappler shark calls for the female Grappler sharks by making a weird duck sound which gets the females attentions then the male Grappler Shark competes with other males for the female shark by shooting their tongues at each other from various lengths and whoever surrenders first loses the fight and the winner gets the female, also these sharks shoot their tongues in the water above them and the female determines which tongue is bigger and picks the male with the bigger tongue. The male reproduces with the female by using its legs and laying on top of the females back and inserts sperm into her. The female then finds an area later on, preferably under a rock, digs a bigger hole and lays her eggs, only about 5 to 10 eggs are made.

Defense Strategies: The Grappler Shark releases a very dark ink or smokescreen from its ink sac located near its intestines which comes out of its anus and allows it to find shelter by swimming using its big tail or secretly make a hole and attempting to camouflage under the sand to which the predator cannot spot the shark. The shark also will tend to try and fight back and poison the predator to scare it off. The predators of the Grappler Shark consist of other sharks, killer whales, etc... . The sharks camouflage with sand is so incredible it is very difficult to spot one of these sharks patiently laying under the sand.

Benthos, Nekton, or Plankton: The Grappler Shark is actually a vagrant benthos species. This shark is a carnivore that is a bottom dweller, which lives on the bottom of the seafloor. The Grappler Shark is an ambush predator which spends majority of its time under the sand on the seafloor in search for its prey patiently, or at its home which is usually under a rock. Unlike most benthos species which are primarily filter feeders and scavengers, this shark is one of the few carnivores which lifestyle is vagrant benthos.

Credits:

Created with images by NOAA's National Ocean Service - "Dogfish"

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