Whale shark vs. Whale

Whale shark vs. Whale

Whale shark and whale are large marine creatures. Whale shark is the largest species of fish in the world, while blue whale (one of 40 species of whales) is the largest animal on the planet. Unlike whale shark, whale is type of marine mammal. Whale shark resides in tropical and warm waters, while whales prefer cold waters of North and South hemisphere. Number of many whale species and whale shark is drastically reduced due to uncontrolled hunting and pollution of the sea. Aside from large size, whale shark and whales do not have much in common. Here are some basic differences between the whale shark and whale:

Size

Whale shark can reach more than 40 feet in length and 47.000 pounds of weight. Largest species of whale, blue whale, can reach 98 feet in length and 40.000 pounds of weight.

Skeleton

Just like in other sharks, skeleton of whale shark is made of cartilage. Whale, like all other mammals, have skeleton made of bones.

Color of the Body and Skin

Whales can be black, blue or gray colored. Their skin is covered with hairs. Whales have thick layer of blubber under the skin which prevents drop in body temperature in the cold waters. Whale shark has grey skin with pale yellow spots on the back and white skin on the belly. Its skin is covered with dermal denticles. Since whale shark is cold-blooded creature, it does not have insulating layer of blubber under the skin.

Breathing

Whale shark spends its entire life under the water and breathes via 5 pairs of gills. Whales breathe atmospheric air using well-developed lungs. They frequently swim to the surface of the water to refill their lungs with oxygen.

Diet

Whale shark and many species of whale eat plankton, krill, algae, larvae and other small creatures. Whales filter edible items from ingested water via baleen plates in their mouth. Whale shark does not have baleen plates. It has huge mouth filled with 300 to 350 rows of miniature teeth and 10 filter pads which are used for filtering food from the water.

Reproduction

Whale shark produces 300 eggs per year. Eggs stay inside the mother's body until they become ready to hatch. Eggs develop and hatch at different time of the year to prevent overcrowding in the mother's body. Young whale sharks fend for themselves from the moment of birth. Whales give birth to a single baby once every few years. Baby stays with its mother during the period of lactation and until it becomes ready for the independent life.

Lifespan

Whale shark can survive 70 to 100 years in the wild, while whales can survive between 100 and 200 years in the wild.

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