Whale shark Facts

Whale shark Facts
Whale shark is the largest fish on the planet. It is named "whale" because of its size and not because it is related to them. Whale sharks live in the warm waters of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Ocean. Whale sharks are migratory species, which means that they often change their location, depending on the availability of food. Since they are very peaceful and friendly creatures, many diverse had opportunity to freely swim with them. Whale sharks are listed as vulnerable because they are over-fished in some parts of the world.
Interesting Whale shark Facts:
Whale sharks are very large animals. They can reach 65 feet in length and weigh up to 75 000 pounds.
Whale sharks are bluish-gray or brown-black in color. Their bellies are white, and their back and sides are covered with white or creamy stripes and dots.
Body coloration provides camouflage in the ocean. Each whale shark has unique pattern of stripes and dots. Researchers use these patterns for identification of individual whale sharks.
Despite their huge size, whale sharks feed on plankton. They eat plankton, small crustaceans and fish, which they filter from the sea water.
Whale shark can swallow 1500 gallons of water each hour.
Whale shark has 4.9 feet wide mouth with 4000 teeth arranged in 350 rows. Although this sounds scary, teeth are very small (size of a match head) and look like a rasp.
Whale sharks live in the open water and swim near the surface of the water.
Whale shark is not a fast swimmer. It swims 3 miles per hour.
Whale sharks have a skeleton made of cartilage instead of bones. Cartilage is flexible and tough, but it easily decays after death.
Whale sharks are solitary creatures. They can be rarely seen in the groups.
Whale sharks are not afraid of the ships. Sea captains need to pay close attention when they sail in the oceans where whale sharks can be found if they want to avoid collisions.
Female whale sharks are larger than males. Other than that, they can be recognized by the lack of claspers on the lower side of their body. Claspers are seen only in males, who use them to transfer the sperm during copulation.
Whale sharks become sexually mature at the age of 30. Females are ovoviviparous, which means that they lay eggs inside their body and give birth to live babies.
Female may have hundreds of thousand eggs inside her body, but only few of them (no more than 300) will develop fully. Other eggs serve as the source of energy for developing embryos. Pups are 2 feet long at birth.
Whale shark lives between 60 and 100 years. Some scientists speculate that they may survive even longer than 100 years.

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