Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Whale Shark

You know what? Just for the heck of it, let's do one more shark. Because sharks are awesome! So I'm going to talk about the largest living species of shark, the Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus).

Image from AquaViews
Whale Sharks are 40-65 feet long, but don't think of them as gigantic, fearsome man-eaters. They are truly gentle giants who tend to be completely indifferent to divers. (though getting accidentally whacked by their tails can cause serious injury) Much like the large Baleen Whales, What Sharks prefer to eat plankton and other small fish. They feed by sucking in large quantities of water, and then expelling it through their gills, keeping their tiny meals inside their mouths with help from filters. They can filter 6,000 liters an hour.

Physically, whale sharks have some interesting features. Their body sports a distinctive checkerboard pattern, and their eyes are very small and placed on the sides of the head. Their teeth are tiny (especially for a fish so large) are are placed in 300 rows. Though they appear to have nothing to do with their feed habits. The Whale Sharks' body is also covered with tiny denticles, which are common to most shark species, and play a role in being hydrodynamic.

Whales sharks are slow swimmers, but they are migratory. They live in tropical waters across the planet where plankton levels are highest. Whale Sharks are usually solitary creatures, but groups of up to 100 have been spotted. They are ovoviviparous, and it is thought that they can give birth to up to 300 young at a time. The life expectancy of one of these wonderful sharks could be near 100 years. Whale Sharks are hunted in a handful of places, and they are currently listed as vulnerable.

1 comment:

  1. hey look out there are in qatar a shark !!!!!!!!


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