basking shark

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basking shark,

large, plankton-feeding shark, Cetorhinus maximus, inhabiting many oceans of the world, especially in temperate regions. Found singly or in schools of up to 100, it spends much of its time on or just below the surface, cruising slowly with its dorsal fin breaking water. It reaches a length of 40 ft (12 m) and weighs up to 8,500 lb (3,900 kg)—among fishes it is second in size only to the whale shark. It feeds by filtering out plankton as water passes into its mouth and out of the gills. Its gill openings are greatly enlarged to accommodate a large volume of water, and its throat is lined with numerous slender structures called gill rakers. These rakers, which are attached to the inside of the gill arches, form a fine mesh that serves as a strainer. The basking shark has a torpedo-shaped body, a nearly symmetrical tail fin, and long, conspicuous gill slits. Its color ranges from gray to black or brown. It is fished commercially, mostly by harpooning; its flesh is used for fish meal and its liver oil for certain tanning processes. It is classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Chondrichthyes, order Selachii, family Cetorhinidae.

basking shark

a very large plankton-eating shark, Cetorhinus maximus, often floating at the sea surface: family Cetorhinidae
References in periodicals archive ?
It was all very impromptu but, as soon as they saw the basking sharks and got close enough, they dived in.
Areas in Cardigan Bay, off the Northumberland coast and off the southern tip of the Cornish coast are all among the hotspots that the Wildlife Trusts want to see protected for dolphins, whales and basking sharks.
Davis said that he always wanted to see if a REMUS could follow a basking shark, so that he could find out if the planktivorous fish sought out plankton "clouds," or areas of high plankton concentration.
Basking sharks are planktivorous, feeding by filtering copepods, barnacles, decapod larvae, and fish eggs from the water (Compagno, 2001).
Now in its fifth year, the trust's Seaquest Basking Shark Project has already recorded 28 sightings in June alone.
Spring and summer is traditionally when basking shark numbers are at their highest, due to the seasonal plankton bloom on which the sharks feed.
The basking sharks, who are most commonly seen along the U.
A proud moment for Massachusetts marine fisheries: Biologist Gregory Skomal, famous for his studies of local great white sharks and lead author of a study on the world's second-largest fish, the basking shark, has published results of his team's work.
Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, MCS biodiversity policy officer, said: "These recent reports of breaching basking sharks are very interesting because the behaviour is barely understood but could be associated with a form of communication.
The data revealed that basking sharks, bigeye tuna, Atlantic cod, leatherback turtles, and Magellanic penguins swim up and down in the water column according to a Levy pattern.
A free action pack with info on jellyfish, turtles and basking sharks at www.