A large specimen of shark was found dead about two meters from the shore of Messina , in Torre Faro . The veterinary staff of the University of Messina intervened on the spot to take the specimen in order to carry out further investigations on the causes of death:
The one found along the Sicilian coast is a specimen of Hexanchus griseus . Also known as ” flathead shark ” or ” cow shark “, the large predatory fish belongs to the genus Hexanchus and is the largest shark in the family Hexanchidae, as it can reach 5.4 metres. Many of the members of the Hexanchidae family are now extinct, while the closest extant sharks genetically to the flattip shark are Scyliorhinidae, Squalidae, Dalatiidae and Somniosus microcephalus, as well as other species with 6 and 7 gill slits. However, many more species resembling this one can be found among fossils than among living species:
Some of these extinct species date back 200 million years , and Hexanchus griseus has distinctive features that are both primitive and typical of more modern sharks. The body color varies from reddish to brown to black. It has a bright lateral line along the sides and at the tips of the fins. The species lives mainly in the oceans but also in the Mediterranean. While normally very slow in movement, it is capable of quick sprints to chase and capture prey. Given the immense range, they have a great variety of preys, ranging from molluscs to crustaceans, from agnates to lampreys. They also feed on anchovies, Pacific salmon and various species of cod. Many other animals across the range are part of this shark’s diet.The species is considered very vulnerable .
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