How about studying some of the unique basking shark facts including basking shark diet, habitat, and reproduction. The basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus), is by far the second largest extant species of fish that comes after the whale shark. These fish have cosmopolitan distribution throughout the globe. The basking sharks are the inhabitants of the temperate waters of the world. These are typically harmless species with their mouths are perfectly adapted for the filter feeding as they have highly skilled gill rakers. They have bright colored gill rakers that are usually employed for catching planktons. The basking shark exhibits a grayish-brown physical appearance. There are around hundred teeth that are perfectly aligned per row in the basking shark’s mouth. They have a crescent-shape tail. Basking shark is the migratory species and is known to overwinter in shallow waters. They may or may not exist in groups. These sharks bear commercial significance in that they offer several purposes including potential food source, liver oil, shark and animal feed. The basking sharks are also called bone sharks, elephant sharks, and hoe-mother.
Interesting Basking Shark Facts
- The largest basking shark was measured at the Bay of Fundy (Canada) back in 1951. The shark was 12.27 meters (40.3 feet), with the weight measuring at 19 tonnes (19 long tons; 21 short tons).
- According to several reports, three of the species measured in Norway with the length of about 12 meters (39 feet), with the largest species measured at 13.7 meters (4 feet).
- The average length of these sharks is around 6 – 8 meters (20 – 26 feet).
- The average weight of basking sharks measure around 5.2 tonnes (5.1 long tons; 5.7 short tons), with few species are as long as 9 – 10 meters (30 – 33 feet).
- The physical coloring and appearance of basking sharks might sometimes be confused with the great white sharks.
- The basking shark’s jaw measure around 1 meter (3 feet 3 inches) by width. They have relatively small eyes.
- Although pointed, the basking shark’s teeth are typically smaller with the length of about 5 – 6 mm (0.20 – 0.24 inch).
- The basking shark liver is about 25% of its whole body.
- These species are highly migratory and their migration usually takes place in particular seasons.
- They are not aggressive fish.
- Basking sharks can be found alone or in groups.
- These sharks do not hibernate and they remain active all throughout the year.
- They are found at a depth of about 900 meters (3,000 feet).
- The basking sharks are known to migrate thousands of kilometers especially in the winter season in pursuit of plankton blooms. It follows that these sharks shed their gill rakers over a short period of time. According to a 2009 survey, around 25 sharks in Massachusetts, Cape Cod, were known to migrate towards south in winter.
- They tend to stay at a depth of about 200 – 1,000 meters (660 – 3,300 feet) for several weeks.
- Some of these species are even known to inhabit in the Amazon River.
- The basking sharks swim at a speed of about 3.7 km/h; 2.3 mph.
- They are also capable to jump out of the water despite their mammoth size and slow movement.
- These fish are believed to be sociable animals.
- The females approach deep waters to give birth.
- One of the frequent predators of these sharks is killer whales.
These sharks are regarded as passive feeders and they primarily feed on zooplanktons, numerous invertebrates, and small fish. The basking sharks consume almost 2,000 short tons (1,800 tons) of water per hour. They do possess large olfactory bulbs that navigate them.
Where Do Basking Sharks Live
The basking shark is a fish that is extensively found across the moderate waters, continental shelves, and boreal waters. These species are considered to be the coastal-pelagic shark. They fancy their living in the temperatures of 8 – 14.5o C but are often known to exist in warmer waters. They tend to migrate seasonally. These types of sharks are usually found at a depth of about 910 meters (2,990 feet).
- Basking sharks are ovoviviparous species.
- The gestation period of these sharks lasts for 2 – 3 years.
- The basking shark becomes mature when they reach the length of about 4.6 – 6.0 meters (15 – 20 feet). This is normally reached after 6 to 13 years depending entirely on species.
- The breeding frequency is believed to be 2 – 4 years.