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 ?
Description--The skeletal elements of Cetorhinus were first recognized in the field as a series of associated, but disarticulated, calcified centra and gill rakers, weathering in situ from the Coos Conglomerate Member of the Empire Formation.
Vertebrae--Calcifications in the centra in Recent Cetorhinus maximus have been described by Hasse (1882), Ridewood (1921), and illustrated by Natanson et al.
1) figured a series of Cetorhinus maximus vertebrae representing cranial, abdominal and trunk vertebrae, illustrating a trend from ventrolaterally directed basopophyses in cranial vertebrae, increasing lateral direction in abdominal vertebrae, and a reverse of the trend in trunk vertebrae.
There are currently no studies documenting individual, ontogenetic, or geographic variations in the vertebrae of Recent Cetorhinus maximus.
Gill rakers in Cetorhinus maximus are present on both sides of each of the five branchial arches.
Van Den Bosch (1984), Hovestadt and Hovestadt-Euler (2011), and Welton (2013) figure gill rakers from Recent Cetorhinus maximus, representing central through distal positions along the gill arch, from individuals of both sexes, and a range of body lengths.
Large adult Cetorhinus maximus gill rakers exceed 20 cm in total length (TL), whereas the most complete Empire gill raker is 2.
The Empire Cetorhinus gill rakers and vertebrae differ significantly from those of the Keasius taylori (Welton, 2013) and K.
According to a graph correlating vertebral dimensions to total length for Recent Cetorhinus maximus (Natanson et al.
Comments on the Use of Vertebrae, Gillrakers and Teeth in Fossil Cetorhinid Taxonomy--All nominal fossil species of Cetorhinus are based on gill rakers or vertebrae.
Identification of the Empire Cetorhinus would have been greatly facilitated with oral teeth, but none were found with the fossil, and to my knowledge, no teeth of Cetorhinus have been collected from the Coos Conglomerate.
Fossil Record of the Genus Cetorhinus in Oregon and California--The fossil record of the genus Cetorhinus in Oregon and California ranges from early Miocene through Pleistocene (Long, 1994; Welton, unpublished data).