Tarpon vs Shark Comparison

tarpon vs shark | what do tarpon eat | shark habitat

The Atlantic Tarpon (What is a Tarpon ?)

Tarpons are the only and the largest member of the Megalopidae family; there are two living species of tarpons. Both the species of tarpons possess shiny and silvered colored scales that cover their elongated body except their head. These species have dorsal and anal rays and have bluish-green back. The eyes and mouth of these species are large and broad.

Interesting Facts About Tarpon:

  • Tarpons can survive in the salty water, where the seas have varying PH value. The swim bladder of these species acts as the respiratory organ. Though both the species can found in the fresh and saltwater bodies.
  • These species are potent predators; they use their muscular speed to capture their prey, which they swallow whole.
  • When a fisher hooks these species, they use their robust body and super speed to surge out of the water.
  • Another advantage to these species is their counter-shading, which they use while hunting. The top body of the tarpon fish has a dark color, which makes it difficult for the animals to see them.
  • Tarpons are not solitary; they live in groups that are called ‘schools.’ Smaller schools migrate in search of food and during the breeding season.
  • The breeding season occurs typically in summers, the group of females releases their eggs, and males release their sperms to fertilize the eggs. An adult female tarpon can produce several millions of eggs at a single time. The egg will hatch into a larval fish after 2 to 3 days.

The IUCN listed tarpons as vulnerable species, the significant threats to tarpons are habitat loss due to pollution caused by humans. The Atlantic tarpon species are considered as the game fish. The flesh of tarpons is regarded as a delicacy in South America.

The Shark (Are Sharks Mammals?)

Sharks are a group of cartilaginous fish; there are several hundred species of sharks. Sharks occur in different sizes, shapes, and colors. The skeleton of these species consists of cartilages; they have 5 to 7-gill slits on each side of the head. Sharks have Placoid scales, which are smooth and allows them to move quickly in water. The skin of the shark feels precisely like sandpaper as it is made of tiny structures known as dermal denticles.
No Sharks are not Mammals.

Interesting Facts About Sharks:

  • Most of the shark’s species have good eyesight, they can see in dark areas, also have night vision and can see colors.
  • The eyeball of a shark consists of a reflective layer of tissue known as Tapetum. The eyes are situated on the sides of their head, which helps them to see a broader view.
  • The hearing capacity of sharks is excellent as their ears are located inside their heads; they can hear their prey up to 3000 feet away.
  • Sharks have a giant brain as compared to any species of fish. Sharks communicate through body language, which involves head shaking, erratic swimming, head butts, and huddle backs.
  • To receive oxygen, sharks need to keep moving in water over their gills to pump water.
  • Only some species need to move always as some other species have spiracles that allow them to pull water into their respiratory system.
  • Some species of sharks are oviparous (lay eggs), and some are viviparous (give birth to young ones).
  • The most common way to mate between sharks is by biting each other. One can measure the age of sharks by counting the rings on their vertebrates.
  • The international union for conservation of nature has evaluated over 60 species of sharks and rays.
  • Out of which 24 percent are listed as near threatened, 26 percent as vulnerable, 6 percent as endangered, and about 10 percent as critically endangered

Difference Between Tarpon and Shark:

ParametersTarponShark
Scientific name-Tarpon scientific name-
The scientific name of the tarpon is Megalopidae.
Shark scientific name-
The scientific name of the shark is Selachimorpha.
Habitat-Tarpon habitat-
Both the species of tarpons are habitats to live in fresh and saltwater. The Atlantic tarpons can be found in Virginia, Brazil, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. The indo-pacific tarpons inhabit the eastern African coast and throughout South East Asia, Australia, Japan, and Tahiti.
Shark habitat-
Sharks habitats from shallow to deep-sea in marine, coastal, and oceanic environments. Some species reside in the shallow, coastal region, while others live in deep water, open water, and ocean floor. Some species move in the freshwater, saltwater, and brackish water.
Diet-What does tarpon eat?
The diet of tarpons depends on the water body they are living- fresh or saltwater. Young tarpons feed on zooplankton like krill and fish larvae, insects, and other vertebrates. Those residing in freshwater primarily feed on insects, fish, crabs, and shrimps. An adult being entirely carnivorous feeds on mid-water prey.
What does shark eat?
Sharks are carnivores; thus, they feed on dolphins, seals, turtles, seagulls, and krill.
Teeth-Does tarpon have teeth?
Yes, tarpons do have teeth; they have a large mouth and have small densely packed teeth on their jaw, palatines, tongue, and skull base.
Does shark have teeth?
Sharks do have teeth, but not all sharks have the same teeth. Some species have pointed teeth; some have triangular and notched teeth. On average, a shark has 40 to 45 teeth, though they lose sharks regularly and can have around 35,000 teeth in her lifetime.
Size-Tarpons can grow between 4 to 8 feet in length.There are several species of sharks ranging from less than 8 inches to 65 feet long.
Weight-Tarpon can weigh between 60 to 280 pounds.A shark can weigh up to 22,000 pounds.
Life span-The average lifespan of tarpon in the wild is 50 years whereas in captivity they can survive for 63 years.The average lifespan of a shark in the wild is 20 to 30 years.

Tarpon vs Shark (What Does a Tarpon Look Like)

Both tarpons and sharks are dangerous animals that have even injured humans several times. As we have discussed the features and differences between both the species, we can conclude that sharks are more powerful and threatening than tarpons. Sharks are known to attack humans; many people fear sharks after the serial attack of sharks such as the jersey shark attack.

If a battle ever happens happened between tarpon and a shark, then the shark is likely to win. As sharks are known as silent killers, it will attack silently on the tarpon, and after playing with it, the shark will finally eat the tarpon.

Also read about biggest whale in the world Blue Whale.