Wednesday, 6 March 2013
Today we're looking at a Whale Shark.
This amazing creature is a slow moving filter feeding. It is the largest extant of the fish species. And large it is. The largest ever whale shark recorded had a length of 12.65m! It lives in warm tropical waters and can live for 70 years! It was first identified as a species in 1828 after a nearly 5metre one was caught in South Africa. Whale Sharks are a threatened species.
So, if their threatened, why is this happeneing???
Notice how it has no Fins?
What is this? This is a Whale shark. There fins are sold for $300 each. the hunting of these animals is legal in many Aisan countries. according to Mr Norman, a Murdoch University researcher, 90% of countries that whale sharks still visit it is legal to slaughter them.
There like a huge vacumn cleaner! :)
Instead of preying on fishes, a whale shark sucks in mouthfuls of water rich in planktons, macro-algae, and tiny fishes. Then, it closes its mouth to trap the water inside, which is funneled through the gill flaps, where water is expelled. Most of the food particles are trapped against the dermal denticles lining the whale shark's pharynx and gill plates. The gills have fine sieve-like contraptions that are used to sifter planktons. The filters, only 2 to 3 millimeters in diameter, prevent anything other than water and smaller food particles from escaping.
More amazing info on diet and anatomy here .... http://www.onejungle.com/travel-resources/articles/wildlife-encounters/item/319-whale-sharks-diet-and-anatomy
Ths whale shark was very cheecky indeed! Seen here sucking the fish out of a net! :)
Although nets in the sea mean problems ...
Whale Shark stuck in a net.
This shark was stuck in a net for 2 hours before tiring and dying.