03/30/2017 Phocéa Mexico

Whale shark

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Description

This shark is considered the biggest fish alive on the face of the earth. It is massive and it moves slowly, it doesn’t present an aggressive behavior and it is completely harmless for humans.
Its body is hydrodynamic, elongated but huge. It presents elongated peaks that go from the head to the back. Its head its broad and flattened; its eyes, without eyelids or ocular pockets are located one on each side of the head. Its mouth it’s huge and can measure up to two meters. It has a great amount of tiny teeth disposed in 300 rows inside the jaw. It has five pairs of gills that are not only useful for breathing but also for filtering the water to separate the food before swallowing.
Its belly is white and the back it is usually a gray darker than the rest of the sharks, its skin is marked with white or yellow sports and horizontal and vertical lines that resemble a checkerboard.

The first dorsal fin has a triangular shape; the pectoral fins are very powerful; the caudal fin is heterocercal having the superior lobe much bigger than the inferior lobe.

Habitat

We can find the whale shark in warm tropical water from the Atlantic, Pacific or Indian Oceans. It is a pelagic animal that lives mainly in deep water. However, some adults and juveniles can be found near lagoons or sandy areas where they can be seen for a few months at a time.
Usually they can be found near the surface alone or in groups up to hundreds of specimens.

Diet

This giant of the sea only shares its name with the whales, due to the fact that it follows the same diet. The whale shark diet consists exclusively on small pray like plankton and krill; its diet also includes small crustaceans and squid not bigger than 10cm, and some algae. Although because of the filtering behavior the absorption of algae could be involuntarily.

Interaction with humans

This species, despite its size it is completely harmless for humans. It is the most popular example used to contradict sharks bad reputation. They come close without the need to use bait, and due to its friendly nature and its tendency to swim close to the surface we consider the whale shark “ the shark ambassador”.

From June to September, we are glad to take you to discover these giants of the sea. In fact, we are very lucky to be able to find the largest concentration of whale sharks in the world during this period!

Steven Surina – www.sharkeducation.com

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