The largest fish in the world is the whale shark

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Luckily it's not a predator

Although it is not the largest creature that can be found in the ocean, since this name belongs to the blue whale, among fish there is no larger giant. Whale sharks can be found in tropical and subtropical ocean waters throughout the world, which they travel majestically in search of food.

Although the name "shark" may cause concern, this species is harmless to humans. Its diet consists of plankton and small nekton.

There are only three species of plankton-eating sharks, but none approach the size of the whale shark. The largest confirmed specimen that has been examined was 18,8 meters long.

How big can a whale shark get?

Although we previously wrote that the size of the largest individual was 18,8 meters, according to scientists, this species can reach sizes up to 22 meters. Young males grow faster than females, but are smaller. The average body length of a female is 14,5 meters while men reach about 8,5 meters length. Newborn sharks range in length from 40 to 60 centimeters. The smallest baby whale shark ever found was 38 centimeters long.

It is difficult to estimate the weight of such a giant, found in 2012 off the coast of Pakistan. an individual about 12 meters long weighed approximately 15 tons.

Entry

It can be found in the oceans of the intertropical zone. Loves warm water Whale sharks are rarely found in waters with temperatures below 21°C., although this happens sometimes. They prefer open waters both among the oceans and in coastal areas. They spend 95% of their time at depths below 200 meters. but sometimes they dive to a depth of less than 500 meters. The deepest whale shark ever seen was at a depth of 1928 meters.

appearance

Whale shark due to its diet it has a mouth located in the front of its body. This distinguishes it from predatory sharks, in which it is located in the lower part of the head. The head is very flattened mouth about 1,5 meters in diameter. However, in the largest specimens it can reach up to 2 meters.

The skin of whale sharks can reach a thickness of up to 15 centimeters, on the back it is dark gray, covered with light gray spots and lines. Pattern covering the upper body unique for every person. The color of the underbelly is white or slightly grayish.

The head of a whale shark with a characteristic pattern. Path /CC BY-SA 3.0

The muzzle is equipped. 300 rows of tiny, recurved teeth. However, they are not used for catching or grinding food. In addition to teeth, it is found in the oral cavity. 20 filter tabs, which catch small food from the water column.

Multiplication

The whale shark is a species ovoviviparous. It is estimated that during one pregnancy a female carries about 300 fertilized eggs. The juvenile period lasts quite a long time; these sharks reach sexual maturity at about 25 years of age.

Danger to humans

There have never been any recorded cases of a whale shark attacking a person. These are fish tranquility, who, when meeting divers, either do not pay attention to them or allow them to swim with them.

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