The Endangered Whale Shark
The Current Status Of The Whale Shark Is Known As Vulnerable According To The List Of Endangered Marine Sapecies The Estimated Numbers Of The Species Left In Our Oceans Are Still Unknown.
The whale shark is an enormous fish, measuring 5.5 to 10 meters long, and weighing an average of 18.7 tonnes. The largest scientifically measured whale shark was 12.7 meters long and weighed no less than 21.5 tonnes. The species is likely to be 60 million years old or older, surviving from the last days of the dinosaurs. Whale sharks are deep blue with pale patterns of speckles, with pale under parts. Whale sharks have huge, wide mouths, which is one of their most notable features. These giant fish swim slowly through the warm tropical and subtropical seas.
Whale sharks, despite their name and formidable size, are extremely gentle creatures and eat only tiny organisms collected via filter feeding. Whale sharks eat large algae, krill, plankton, fish eggs, various larval forms of ocean animals, and small fish or squid. They can filter feed by opening their mouths while swimming or by actively gulping and expelling water. For this reason, whale sharks are able to target swarms of small animals or clouds of fish eggs and sperm in the spawning grounds of various species.
Humans are safe from these creatures as whale sharks are generally neutral or even slightly friendly to human beings, allowing swimmers to “ride” them for a distance. Young whale sharks sometimes play with human divers also. Though a human could theoretically be accidentally sucked into a whale shark’s mouth if they were swimming close to its lips when it decided to take a gulp of krill or fish, this is never known to have occurred.
Whale shark reproduction is largely a mystery, though one female is known to have contained over 300 small “pups” who are likely born in sequence rather than in one huge swarm. Whale sharks reach adulthood at around 30 years of age and may live for up to a century.