This is everything you have to know about whale sharks
A fish known on the Planet due to its huge size. That despite belonging to a species that has been stigmatized, it is characterized by its charisma. Yes, we are talking about whale sharks.
Know everything you didn´t know about whale sharks
Whale sharks have been sailing across the oceans of our planet for more than 60 million years, and have always surprised those who discover them and get fascinated by their behavior and large size.
The scientific name of the world´s largest fish is “Rhincodon typus”. The name of whale shark was given to it because it has external physical characteristics that make it look similar to a whale.
The first discovered specimen of this species – as established in the records – was found in South Africa, in 1828.
Describing whale sharks
One of the first characteristics that we can mention about whale sharks has to do with their backs having an intense gray color, as well as a series of white and yellow lines, arranged both horizontally and vertically. Another exterior feature that can be easily seen has to do with the outstanding presence of moles.
Something similar that we can mention between whale sharks and humans has to do with the fact that, just as no human fingerprint is the same as others, no pattern of whale shark moles is the same as that of another specimen. Surprising, right?
They are highly hydrodynamic fish, and it is estimated that adults can measure up to 20 meters long. At the same time, their mouths tend to measure approximately 1.5 meters wide.
How do whale sharks feed?
Whale sharks feeding is extremely striking. It is carried out using a process that consists of filtering the water for obtaining food. It is a species basing its feeding on plankton, very small fish, crab larvae, macroalgae, nekton, among others.
Because whale sharks vision is not very good, to reach the areas where they can find food, they use the help of olfactory signals.
Where can we find them?
Whale sharks tend to be found in tropical waters, where plankton is abundant, and there is a depth of at least 700 meters. Because of that, it is usually seen in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
At present, it is estimated that the territory in which a greater number of specimens are found is in the Philippines. However, whale sharks spend a lot of time in the Caribbean Sea, especially from May to September.
Why are whale sharks threatened?
Today, whale sharks are considered as a threatened species. First of all, this has to do with the fact that the sexual maturity of these animals occurs late, which strongly delays the “replacement” of the dead specimens.
At the same time, whale sharks are one of the most hunted species of its kind. It is a highly commercialized animal, especially in the food industry. Also, its cartilage is used to produce a great variety of medicines, and its skin is used for creating many craft products as well.