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 ?
Basking sharks can be seen towards the surface as they eat plankton.
I particularly enjoyed the author's description of a childhood obsession with this most wondrous of fish and then, after years of waiting, his first encounter with a basking shark - or to be precise with seven of the creatures - somewhere in the middle of the English Channel.
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.
Somehow we tagged the basking shark," Kukulya said.
In the summer of 1972, students of the University of California at Berkeley, Summer Institute, discovered associated skeletal elements of a basking shark in the Coos Conglomerate Member of the Empire Formation at Fossil Point, Coos Bay, Oregon (Fig.
Spring and summer is traditionally when basking shark numbers are at their highest, due to the seasonal plankton bloom on which the sharks feed.
Only 2% of UK's seas are protected for wildlife conservation, and the number of basking shark sightings in the Irish Sea alone have declined by 95% in recent years.
Using satellite tracking, Skomal's team followed tagged basking sharks migrating from southern New England to their wintering grounds in the Bahamas, the Caribbean and the coast of South America.
The first book, "The Basking Shark Rescue Team," came out in April 2010.
THESE stunning pictures give a rare insight into the mysterious world of the great basking shark.
The tail fin of a shark is usually the most expensive, with the tail fin of the basking shark, for example, worth up to $10,000.
But by harnessing plankton power, we potentially could fuel autonomous, mobile instruments that would glide through the water scooping up plankton like a basking shark, and converting that to electricity.