posted Apr 8, 2014, 10:56 PM by Thomas Kraus
updated Apr 8, 2014, 11:00 PM
The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is a slow filter feeding shark that is the largest known living fish species. The species was first identified in April 1828 following the harpooning of a 4.6 metre (15.1 ft) specimen in Table Bay, South Africa.
The name "whale shark" comes from the fish's physiology; that is, a shark as large as a whale that shares a similar filter feeder eating mode.
The whale shark inhabits the world's tropical and warm-temperate oceans. While thought to be primarily pelagic, seasonal feeding aggregations of the sharks occur at several coastal sites such as Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, Utila in Honduras, Donsol and Batangas in the Philippines and the Tanzanian Islands of Pemba and Zanzibar and the Sea of Cortez.
Are you now curious about this animal? The picture does show a scuba diver with a whale shark to display the enormous dimensions of this fish.
Yet, setting up your scuba rig to have a close encounter with the whale shark is not always necessary. Pending on the presence of plankton, the whale shark sieve's zoo plankton as small as 1mm in diameter through the fine mesh of his gill-rakers while swimming at a slow speed.
Paired with that the whale sharks seem to favor encounters with curiosity and much tolerance. This gives plenty of opportunities for very close encounters!!