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 ?
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.
A sweet, funny story starring a brave otter, a basking shark in a jam, birds of all types and a pair of human cousins.
The monthly distribution of basking shark sightings for the coastal area from the Santa Barbara Channel to Monterey Bay as developed by the aerial monitoring program (1962-85) is compared with the monthly sightings in the Monterey Bay area as recorded by Edward Durden (Squire, 1967) in 1948-50.
Despite their size, basking sharks are not aggressive and feed entirely on plankton.
Tell me more: Basking sharks like the Scottish waters off the west coast during the summer.
In a curious connection, the lingering remnants of a past nuclear age are helping me find ways to conserve remnant populations of basking sharks and other endangered marine species.
The basking sharks, who are most commonly seen along the U.
At least 21 species of shark can be found off the coasts of Britain, from the Small-spotted Catshark to the large plankton eating Basking Shark.
MCS is nowencouraging the public to report their sightings as part of their Basking Shark Watch programme in a bid to better understand the behaviour of the creatures.
THESE stunning pictures give a rare insight into the mysterious world of the great basking shark.
The basking shark is the world's second largest living fish reaching an estimated length of 10m.