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.
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basking shark

a very large plankton-eating shark, Cetorhinus maximus, often floating at the sea surface: family Cetorhinidae
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Basking sharks can grow up to 11 metres long and weigh a whopping seven tons.
Basking sharks are not predators but feed on planktons and are harmless to humans.
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.
Basking sharks are slow-moving plankton feeders which can grow up to 12 meters (40 feet) long.
They are calling for the series of "hotspots" - highly productive areas which produce plenty of food - to be protected especially for whales, basking sharks and dolphins, to secure the "missing link" in marine conservation.
"Somehow we tagged the basking shark," Kukulya said.
The Family Cetorhinidae Gill, 1862, includes one extant genus, Cetorhinus Blainville, 1816, and a single living species, the basking shark, C.
The four species would join the great white shark, the whale shark and the basking shark, which already enjoy international trade controls.
Hadjimichael was referring to the illegal fishing of harmless, protected sharks such as the basking shark in the waters off the coast of the island, especially companies offering to take tourists out on a boat to hunt them