whale shark

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whale shark,

large, plankton-eating shark, Rhincodon typus, found in all tropical seas of the world. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world. A female typically reaches about 46 ft (14 m) in length, and a male about 26 ft (8 m); the largest known specimen was about 60 ft (18 m) long. They may live for 100 to 150 years. The whale shark feeds largely on plankton, as well as on small fish and crustaceans. It is the only large shark with its mouth at the front of its head rather than on the underside. The mouth is equipped with many rows of tiny teeth, and the throat has numerous long slender structures called gill rakers, which form a fine mesh for straining food from the water. The whale shark's body is stout but streamlined, like that of a whale. It is brownish gray above, with many white or yellow spots, and white or yellow below. The female may give birth to as many as 300 pups at one time. The whale shark is a docile, torpid fish; it does not attack, even on provocation, but has been known to collide with boats. 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 Rhincodontidae.
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References in periodicals archive ?
'The number of whale sharks spotted in Donsol indicates that its waters are now rich with plankton, which is their primary food.
Segregation and foraging ecology of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, in the southwestern Gulf of California.
There's no record of attacks made by whale sharks on humans.
ILOILO CITY--An endangered whale shark has been spotted at a marine reserve in the island province of Guimaras.
The DENR regional office said on Saturday that 14 whale sharks had been discovered and documented in Sarangani Bay.
'The whale sharks are large, but they are completely harmless to humans.
KARACHI -- A massive whale shark, that was caught and entangled in a net laid down by fishermen in the deep sea and was to be shifted to the Karachi fish harbour late on Monday night for sale, never reached the harbour.
According to the WWF technical director, "the whale shark is not only found in Pakistani waters, but they also breed in Pakistani waters." He said that in light of the dangers faced by the whale shark, the WWF had trained fishermen in 2013, due to which around 75 whale sharks had been freed from the net and have been released into the sea during the past five years.
In some countries, whale sharks are fed regularly in order to guarantee sightings, but thankfully this is not the practice in Oman,' said Barbara Alessi, diving instructor at Euro-Divers Oman.