Cover image for The encyclopedia of sharks
The encyclopedia of sharks
Parker, Steve.
Personal Author:
Revised edition.
Publication Information:
Willowdale, Ont. : Firefly Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
192 pages : color illustrations ; 31 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Reading Level:
1180 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC High School 10 11 Quiz: 28332 Guided reading level: NR.
Subject Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL638.9 .P37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
QL638.9 .P37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Here are the actual facts that dispel the myths and legends surrounding the feared and misunderstood shark. Generous color photographs plus maps and illustrations document every aspect of these beautiful animals, how they evolved, the mythology and misconceptions that surround them, and the threat posed by humans.

The dynamic and authoritative text includes information on:

Anatomy and physiology Reproduction, courtship, and mating How they hunt and what they eat Migration routes Their extraordinary senses and skills Shark conservation efforts.

Chapters such as Shark Success , Ecology and Biology , Design for Living and Design for Killing fascinate and encourage readers to learn more about these complex creatures.

Author Notes

Steve Parker worked at the Natural History Museum in London, England, before becoming an author of more than 100 books. He regularly appears on radio and television.

Jane Parker worked at the Zoological Society of London and then became involved in medical research and genetic engineering. She has written books on subjects ranging from insects to ancient Egypt.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The perennially popular sharks provide ample material for many books, and this new effort is a good introduction to the biology of these predatory fishes. Sharks, the terrifying cold-blooded killing machines of myth and legend, fascinate because of their mystery when coming out of the depths and seizing their prey. Improving the shark's image by being realistic and sensible about them is one of the stated goals of this work, and the authors have succeeded admirably. In seven chapters, divided into short sections, they discuss the evolution of sharks, their senses, internal organs, behavior, foods and feeding, and reproduction. Well illustrated with photographs, color drawings, maps, and diagrams, the text is basic yet informative in discussing sharks as a group. A list of aquariums with captive shark displays and areas where interested readers can dive with sharks follows the main body of the text. The lack of a bibliography is a weakness, but overall this will be a good start for readers interested in sharks. --Nancy Bent

Library Journal Review

This reference, which provides comprehensive information on sharks and their relatives, should help readers gain a much better appreciation of this special group of ancient fishes, probably the most maligned group of animals in our popular culture. The text consists of two-page articles, each covering a different aspect of sharks, including evolution, taxonomy, behavior, geographical ranges, reproduction, physiology, and the shark's place in mythology. Enhanced by many photographs, sidebars, and charts, these short articles are to read and enjoy; the writing style is aimed at high school and nonscientist adults. A good index and excellent glossary round out the book, which lacks only a bibliography. Recommended for high school, college, and public libraries, especially those without strong marine biology collections.√ĄMargaret A. Rioux, MBL/WHOI Lib., Woods Hole, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Amazing Sharks Sharks have been living for over 400 million years. They came through the five great mass extinctions, and competed favorably with the rapidly evolving bony fishes, and today they are among the top predators in the sea. During all that time, sharks have been honed to evolutionary perfection, with a body that yacht and submarine designers can only envy and with wide-ranging sensory systems that military technologists would die for. The archetypal shark is a sleek, torpedo-shaped hunter with a tall, triangular dorsal fin and powerful scythe-shaped tail, but this is only one of many types of shark. There are gigantic filter feeders resembling whales, sluggish and flabby deep sea sharks, flattened bottom-dwelling angel sharks, reef sharks with wedge-shape heads for pushing into cracks and crevices, carpet-like wobbegongs that are camouflaged as coral, parasitic cookie-cutters with sucker-like mouths and enormous teeth, eel-like sharks with frilly gill slits, and epaulette sharks that can walk on their fins like salamanders. Sharks Worldwide They live in all parts of the sea, from the desert-like surface waters to the inky depths of the deep sea, and from the tropics to colder waters. There are sharks inhabiting coral reefs, mangroves, rocky shores, estuaries, and one species -- the bull shark -- that can live in freshwater hundreds of miles from the sea. Another -- the Greenland sleeper shark -- can survive even under the Arctic ice. Throughout human history, however, all sharks have been tarred with the same brush, and have gained an evil reputation. Much of it was based on myth and folk tales, but some was due to the tendency of a few sharks to attack, kill and sometimes devour people. But this negative view is changing. There has been a revolution and now sharks have friends. As shark biology and behavior become gradually clearer, people realize they can share the water with sharks ... as long as it is on the shark's terms. We now know sharks have a personal space that we must not invade or they will treat us like any other intruder and attack. They have a body language that we are beginning to interpret, and a new understanding of why they behave in the way that they do. They are not solitary killers looking for the next human victim, but many are social animals abiding by the rules of their own shark society. New Status for Sharks Understanding sharks in this way has changed attitudes. Shark scientists now dare work with sharks outside shark cages, even with potentially dangerous sharks, such as great white, tiger and bull sharks, which were once feared as insatiable man-eaters. Groups of tourists can attend specially arranged shark banquets on the sea floor. Fear has been replaced with respect. People want to swim with sharks, and some even hug them. But people cannot turn sharks into pets. They are wild animals, and highly efficient predators. In certain circumstances they can be very dangerous, and the press is quick to react when an attack occurs on a person. The world's newspapers still consider sharks as front-page news, and a spate of shark attacks in US waters during 2001 began to tarnish the shark's new image. But those who are beginning to understand sharks realize that many of these attacks are not due to the shark's behavior but to our own. We place ourselves in places where sharks expect to find food, and attacks are often cases of mistaken identity. Sharks are not interested in people as food. There are no rogue sharks with a taste for human blood, just sharks living in their own environment going about their daily lives as top ocean predators. Excerpted from The Encyclopedia of Sharks by Steve Parker, Jane Parker All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Amazing Sharks
Chapter 1 Shark Success
Survival of the Fittest
Records in the Rocks
Shark Beginnings
Early Sharks
Golden Age of Sharks
The Shark's Closest Cousins
Classifying Sharks
Main Groups of Sharks
Chapter 2 Ecology and Biology
The World of the Shark
Food Webs and Chains
Shark Sizes and Numbers
From Tropics to Poles
Where Sharks Live
From Shallows to the Deep
Do Sharks Grow Old?
Sharks on the Move
Do Sharks Have Friends?
Do Sharks Have Enemies
Breathing Underwater
The Shark's Lifeblood
Sharks Have a Heart
The Problem of Salt Water
Shark Kidneys
Chapter 3 Sense and Supersense
Sense-ational Sharks
The Shark's Brain
Visionary Sharks
The Sounds of the Sea
Touch at a Distance
Sixth Senses
Finding Their Way
Bright Sharks
Getting On With Others
Are Sharks Social?
Chapter 4 Design for Living
The Survival Suite
Shark Shapes
Moving Through Water
Tails and Fins
Sink or Swim
Colors and Camouflage
Cunning Disguises
Spines and Spikes
Skin and Scales
Internal Support
Bending and Flexing
Muscle Power
Chapter 5 Design for Killing
Food for Sharks
Killer Sharks
Taking Advantage
Big Sharks, Small Food
The Teeth of the Shark
Jaw Power
Food Breakdown
Shark's Gut
Do Sharks Hunt in Packs?
The Feeding Frenzy
Chapter 6 More Sharks -- Or Fewer?
Strategies and Threats
The Males of the Species
The Females of the Species
Courting Sharks
How Sharks Mate
Egg-laying Sharks
Developing Inside Mother
A Shark is Born
Growing Up
Chapter 7 Shark Talk
A Brief History of Sharks
Folk Tales With Teeth
More Toothy Tales
Even Sharks Have Uses
Who's Afraid of Sharks?
Catching Sharks
Shark Attack
Sharks in War
Sharks and Science
Deterrents and Death
Future Uses for Sharks
Shark Conservation
SOS -- Save Our Sharks
Shark Classification
Seeing Sharks