The Whale Shark belongs to a subclass of cartilaginous fish. Scientific studies affirm that it inhabits the earth for 60 million years. Is so far considered the largest fish in the world.
DESCRIPTION OF WHALE SHARK.
The Whale Shark has a particular characteristic that sets it apart from other sharks: Its beautiful skin with polka dots and light colored lines. Its skin measure up to 10 cm thick. The whale shark usually have a length of 31 foot and a weight of 9 tonnes, although sharks of more than 40 foot and 21.5 tonnes have been observed. Its wide mouth can open about 1.5 meters. Inside its mouth there are 300-350 rows of teeth and 10 pairs of useful pads to filter its food. These animals are not excellent swimmers because when swimming with the whole body, they hardly reach the speed of 3 mi/h. This shark has been observed alone or in groups formed by 100 or more specimens. The whale shaks can live with other groups of fish and stingrays.
WHALE SHARK FEED.
Only three species are fed by filtration, and the whale shark is one of them. When it opens its jaw to feed, a lot of water is also absorbed, so it is expelled through a filter located in the gills, storing the important food. If something gets caught in its gills, this fish uses a kind of “cough” to remove the obstruction. They feed on plankton, jellyfish, anchovies, fish larvae, corals, phytoplankton, algae, krill, crab larvae, squid, sardines, mackerel and tuna. The reason for the presence of teeth is unknown, since they are not used for eating.
WHALE SHARK REPRODUCTION.
It is known that sexual maturity in males is reached at 30 years of age, when they measure is about 9 meters in length, however in the females has not been determined yet. They are ovoviviparous. The pups are formed in eggs inside the mother and they give birth to developed offspring. At birth, they are between 40 and 60 cm long. The Whale Shark has a longevity of 100 years of age.
OBSERVATION OF WHALE SHARK
The official whale shark season is from May 15 to September 15 of each year. This is an activity that is controlled and regulated by federal environmental authorities. The Whale shark is very docile and gentle, and does not panic when approaching divers or swimmers. There are some agencies which organized these excursions for the observation of the whale shark. We invite you no to lose this experience during the whale shark season.
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