The animal world has countless questions that make us reflect on how amazing nature is. The shark is one of the most feared animals in the sea, and the speed at which it swims towards its prey is impressive. However, because it is a marine animal, it is always swimming. But what would happen if he decided to leave his fins immobile for just a few seconds?
So what happens if a shark stops swimming?
This is a question that has been asked over the years, because whenever we observe this animal, it is in constant motion. But, behind it, there are some scientific explanations that can solve any doubts.
Like fish, sharks acquired some characteristics from this group, the main one being gill breathing. This mechanism works due to the presence of gills, located on the sides of its head, very close to the lateral fin. These arm slits are responsible for gas exchange. Thus, it is with these small openings that the oxygen present in the water is captured. It is worth noting that this mechanism tends to occur differently between one species of shark and another.
In nurse sharks and bull sharks, respiration takes place using buccal pumping, as these are species that are not active swimmers. In buccal pumping, water tends to pass through the mouth and into the opercular cavities creating a positive pressure. This mechanism is most often used when animals need to rest.
How can the breathing mechanism kill a shark?
Ram ventilation is another means that some species have to perform gas exchange with the environment while swimming. This option will only be viable for the most active swimmers, such as great white sharks and other species.
Therefore, these more active animals would die if they stopped swimming or opted for buccal pumping. In the case of tiger sharks , they can alternate between one breathing mechanism and another, and even so, they remain alive if they stop swimming. The same is true of flattened shark species.
When they are at the bottom of the ocean, these individuals end up not being able to breathe through buccal pumping, and if they decide to rest, they will die. Water pressure is a factor of great influence on the way of life of these animals, especially for those who visit the depths of the oceans.
In the case of flathead sharks, they have another hole that helps them stay alive even when they are swimming deeper. This opening, called the spiracle, is located behind the eyes and carries with it the responsibility of conducting water in and out of the gill slits.
So when a shark needs a moment to rest, it still doesn’t go completely still. Since the water flow will be circulating normally during this period. Thus, despite being a question asked by many people, it is partially incorrect. That is, the answer does not apply to all sharks.