Everybody loves a whale shark!
These gentle giants are the largest fish in the sea. They can grow to be up to 12m long but are 7m long on average, while they weigh about 18 tonnes.
Here’s what a whale shark looks like:
Each whale shark has its own unique pattern of spots, much like human fingerprints. They have rows of over 300 teeth, but as filter feeders they do not use these teeth to eat. Whale Sharks are not predatory. They are known to prefer warmer, tropical waters and 75% of all whale sharks are found in the Indo-Pacific.
What About Them?
Whale Sharks are filter feeders. They open their mouths, filter out food from the water and release it through their gills. Although they binge on plankton, they also eat shrimp, algae and other marine plant material. Their menu also includes small fish, and even fish eggs.
According to the IUCN, the Indo-Pacific population of the whale shark is thought to have reduced 63 percent over the past 75 years. Whale Sharks are now endangered as their population continues decreasing.
Whale sharks are difficult to tag because the sharks are too big for divers to attach the devices alongside a research boat. But with fin-mounted satellite tags that can transmit position, water depth and temperature, scientists now know a lot more about them.
For example, their deepest recorded dives are to depths greater than 6000 ft! Also, because they reach maturity late, (at 30 years old), scientists estimate they may live over a 100 years.
Here at Temple
We’ll never shy away from a whale shark sighting, and they’ve never shied away from us either. Plenty of whale shark sightings in 2017, and we bet there’s more for 2018!
Sign up for some fun dives to cool off as it gets warmer in Pondicherry, and watch whale sharks with us! Email email@example.com to know more about our dive trips to swim with these gentle giants.
Stay Tuned for more!
Until next time,
~ Tinku Lucy and Beast,