Cookie Cutter Shark

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Cookie Cutter Shark teeth
Cookie Cutter Shark's teeth. Image credit: JSUBiology cc2.0

Cookie Cutter Shark…

Cookie Cutter Shark teeth
Cookie Cutter Shark’s teeth. Image credit: JSUBiology cc2.0

The cookiecutter shark is a 20-inch- (51-centimeter-) long fish found in the depths of all the oceans around the world. It is named for the cookiecutter-shaped holes it leaves behind in the flesh of the larger fish and whales it likes to feed on.

Cookiecutter_damage
Pomfret with damage from a cookiecutter shark. By PIRO-NOAA Observer Program PD image

These holes show that the relatively small cookiecutter shark has an extremely unusual hunting method. The shark will attach to its victim’s side, creating suction with its lips and tongue. Then it anchors into the flesh with its narrow upper teeth, and rotates its entire body in a complete 360-degree turn, sawing out a plug of flesh with its serrated lower teeth. Sometimes it will even suck up a whole animal, like squid.

These sharks replace their whole lower set of teeth in one go, instead of losing them one by one, and then swallow the old teeth to conserve calcium.

Isistius_brasiliensis_belly
The dark collar of the cookiecutter shark is believed to act as a lure. (Bioluminescence). By PIRO-NOAA Observer Program PD image

The cookie cutter shark makes use of bioluminescence to camouflage itself against the background light coming down from the ocean surface. Its underside glows a blue-green color, but a small part remains black. This deceives the shark’s prey into thinking that that it is even smaller than it is, and when the prey fish comes to attack, the cookiecutter will retaliate and successfully get another meal.

To learn more about Cookie Cutter Sharks, visit:
10 Interesting Facts About Cookiecutter Sharks!




Cookiecutter Shark Videos

The YouTube video below contains a playlist of 3 videos about cookie cutter sharks. The list of videos featured is underneath.

These videos are mentioned in the following books:
Sharks Early Readers
25 most Awesome Sharks
The Daily Shark

The Playlist:

  1. BBC: Perfect Shark – Cookie Cutter Shark. With the help of a shark expert and a room built with CGI, take a look at this deadly shark species, the Cookie Cutter Shark. With ambush as its main weapon of attack, could this be the world’s most Perfect Shark?
  2. Cookie Cutter Shark Bite on Dolphin by dolphincommproject. An Indo-Pacific Bottlenose dolphin swims by with a wound caused by a cookie cutter shark.
  3. Cookie Cutter Shark Big Island Hawaii Blackwater night dive by Big Island Divers. Extremely rare cookie cutter shark off Kona Hawaii.

More Shark Video Pages to Enjoy:
Tiger Sharks, Bull Sharks, Hammerhead, Mako, Great White, Megamouth, Goblin Sharks, Shark Senses, Sharks and Humans, Tonic Immobility, Whale Sharks, Lanternshark, Megalodon, Cookiecutter, Frilled Sharks, Spiny Dogfish, Basking Sharks, Angel Shark, Horn Sharks, Wobbegong, Zebra Shark, Blue Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Reef Sharks, Sand Tiger Shark, Oceanic Whitetip.

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