Mississippi's sharks and rays: An educational guide for the Mississippi Aquarium
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Mississippi's sharks and rays: An educational guide for the Mississippi Aquarium

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  • Description:
    The waters surrounding Mississippi are home to an exciting diversity of sharks, skates, and rays (collectively called elasmobranchs). We’ve developed this book to showcase a small portion of this diversity and highlight the sharks and rays you may see at Mississippi Aquarium. Below are a few things to keep in mind as you go through this book. First, we’ve included the common and Latin (or scientific) name for each species. Then, alongside each color illustration, we’ve shown an example of a single tooth from the upper jaw (sharks) or an entire set of jaws (rays). We’ve also described the average size at maturity (i.e., size at adulthood) and the maximum reported total length (for sharks) or disc width (“wingspan,” for rays) for Gulf of Mexico specimens. To best illustrate the maximum reported total length of each shark and the maximum reported disc width of each ray, we’ve displayed a silhouette of each species relative to a 6-foot-tall human. Finally, we’ve presented a color-coded “population status” graphic to indicate whether the current status of each population is good (green), fair (yellow), poor (red), or unknown (gray). To develop this graphic, we used data from NOAA Fisheries for populations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, instead of the IUCN, which provides global population trends. While current as of 2021, it’s important to remember that the statuses of U.S. shark and ray populations are constantly changing (hopefully for the better!).
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