How do sharks breathe?

Photo: Phil Enright - Thanks Phil ;)

Photo: Phil Enright - Thanks Phil 😉

Have you ever wondered how a shark breathes? I hadn’t really until I saw this most incredible photo of a shark.

The gills were SO big you could see right through them! AMAZING.

So, I started thinking…how do sharks breathe?

Enchanted learning says:

“Sharks use their gills to filter oxygen from the water.  When water passes over the gills, a system of fine blood vessels takes up oxygen from the water”.  You can read the whole article by clicking here.

The web address is: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/sharks/anatomy/Gills.shtml

If you were after a more detailed explanation…

According to an article in Science World Magazine

“A shark usually swims with its mouth open to force oxygen-rich water to pass over a set of gills housed in a cavity behind its head–a process known as ramjet ventilation. Gill flaps called lamellae absorb and help diffuse oxygen into the shark’s bloodstream. Lamellae also help sharks expel carbon dioxide, a gaseous waste product of breathing, from the bloodstream.”

PBS on-line has a fantastic Web resource called Island of the Sharks

Join two film makers who dive into an Island off Costa Rica to film an IMAX special on sharks! Well worth checking out!