hibernation in sharks

From: Pieter Arend Folkens (animalbytes@earthlink.net)
Date: Sat Nov 24 2001 - 14:45:30 EST

>Can sharks hibernate? By that I mean if the water got colder or would
>they go to the thermal vents and stay there until the water warmed up?

I am not a shark expert, so I consulted a close colleague (Dr. Mike
Heithaus) who is. He answered your question with this:

There isn't any evidence of hibernating sharks although there used to
be speculation that basking sharks did (the current evidence is
strongly against it). I don't think it would happen for a couple
reasons. First, most sharks need to actively swim to get enough
oxygen to survive, second there are lots of large deep-sea predatory
sharks that would get an easy meal out of a hibernator, and third,
there is always warm water somewhere and most species make long
migrations and could easily track favorable conditions.

I hope that helps.


Pieter Folkens

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