The largest Fish in the World, The Whale Shark

Travis Burdick By Travis Burdick, 18th Oct 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Nature>Fish

Despite its name the Whale Shark is not a fericious predator. It is actually very docile. The Whale Shark is the biggest fish in our oceans and one of the gentlest.

The Whale Shark

The Whale shark is the largest fish in the world. They are around forty feet long and weigh up to thirteen tons, about the same size as an adult Gray whale. These sharks live in subtropical and tropical waters, both Atlantic and Pacific. The name Whale shark comes from their large size and weight, which makes them the whales of the shark and fish species.

The whale shark is gentle and docile, even allowing scuba divers to “hitch” rides on them by hanging onto their fins. There are many places around the world, where one may pay to be boated out to where Whale sharks are so that they may swim with them. The only danger from swimming with a Whale shark is being scratched by their rough skin, or accidentally knocked around by their huge tails. They can only swim two miles per hour, which most experienced swimmers can easily stay with.

The Whale shark's teeth are similar to most whales. They are made to filter and catch small food, not cut and rip like other sharks. Whale sharks teeth are the size of match heads. They swim along the surface of the ocean with their mouth open, catching plankton, small fish and squids to sustain their large bulk. They do sometimes eat larger fish, tuna or mackerel, but this is wholly by accident. The larger fish is swallowed when they are feeding on schools of small fish. They can also feed in the vertical position, sticking their head out of the water and then quickly sinking downwards catching fish. As the Whale shark dines along the ocean’s surface, there has been a few incidents of them accidentally running into ships.

There are four other sharks who come from the same family as the Whale shark. The White-spotted and Brown-banded Bamboos, the Nurse shark, and the Eqaulette shark. These sharks are very small compared to the Whale shark, the biggest being the Nurse shark at ten feet long. The similarities that these sharks share are, two barbels at their snouts, the position of the mouth that is well ahead of the eyes and the anal fin. Unlike the Whale shark, these four sharks live and feed on the seabed.

It is not known how this large shark gives birth. They may either lay eggs, which would be around fourteen inches long or keep the eggs in their own bodies, where they hatch, thus producing live young.

The shark fishing and fining industries have taken its toil on this beautiful and placid shark. Sadly, they have the conservation status of vulnerable, it could be worse as their actual numbers are unknown. The Whale shark is a gentle giant, one we have no need to fear. It is heart breaking to see this awesome shark, as well as many other sharks, dying at an alarming rate. Hopefully man will recognize how truly necessary all sharks are for the ecology of the ocean and stop their unnecessary and ruthless slaughter of them before it is too late.

Tags

Atlantic, Ecology, Endangered, Finning, Fish, Gentle, Ocean, Pacific, Shark, Swimmers, Velnerable, Whale Shark

Meet the author

author avatar Travis Burdick
I am almost 19 years old, just out of high school and starting my writing career. I have a deep passion for animals and am intereted in the military, warfare and diseases.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
19th Oct 2010 (#)

just a tip (not sure if you are submitting to twittley or somebody else is)
when you submit to twittley use only 2-3 GENERIC tags

separate with commas only - no spaces

for this one better tags would have been

nature,fish,animals

http://twittley.com/news/pets-animals/whale-shark/#writecomment

get more followers on twitter too for more views.

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author avatar Denise O
19th Oct 2010 (#)

Travis, Good job!
Yes, we can only hope.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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