What Exactly Is A ‘Ninja Shark’?

Few animals in the world are more feared than sharks, yet Discovery is taking their intimidation factor to the next level with a new special entitled Ninja Sharks, which delves into the unique ways that some species have mastered the world’s oceans.

Shark Week is a yearly juggernaut for Discovery, yet most of its programming focuses on more well known species like the great white. As Yahoo News points out, Ninja Sharks does just the opposite, examining a number of lesser known species of shark that have developed unique adaptations which serve to make them exceptionally effective predators.

Best known among the featured sharks is likely the hammerhead. Though there are a variety of hammerhead species that swim the world’s oceans, these unique sharks are defined by their distinctive shape. Their unusual cranial contour is more than just cosmetic in nature, however, allowing the hammerhead to detect a variety of electric currents generated by prey animals.

The bull shark is also well known among the general public, as it is capable of attacking and seriously injuring humans. Bull sharks can be particularly aggressive, yet they are considered a “ninja shark” due to an unusual adaptation they share with just a few other species. As the Inquisitr previously reported, bull sharks have developed a unique physiology which allows them to easily transition between salt water and fresh water. For this reason, bull sharks can be found swimming far along inland rivers, in places where other shark species cannot go.

According to the Discovery special, makos are also considered “ninja sharks” due to their ranking as the fastest shark species on earth, a trait facilitated by their bullet-like shape and skin texture. Thresher sharks, meanwhile, fall into the ninja category since they can use their tail to stun or even kill prey, as the Oregonian reports. Oceanic whitetip sharks join the club through their ability to travel over long migrations without food, helped along by specialized pectoral fins.

The ninja shark crowd is rounded out by possibly the least well-known among them, the salmon shark. Closely related to the white shark but poorly understood, the salmon shark has developed the ability to retain a 60 degree core temperature while it swims through frigid arctic waters in search of its namesake prey.

Discovery will examine the six species of Ninja Sharks in detail on July 8 at 10 p.m., though Shark Week will continue until July 12.

[Photo by Dan Kitwood / Getty Images]