More about Sammyz kin

Facts about whale sharks

 
  • The largest living fish species.
  • Can grow upto 40 ft. in length and weigh upto 13.6 tonnes.
  • Average lifespan of 70 years.
  • The species is believed to have originated about 60 million years ago.
  • Species was first identified in 1828 in South Africa.
  • Called by various names all over the world.
    • Known as a deity in Vietnamese religion, and called "Ca Ong", which means "Sir Fish".
    • "Pez Dama" or "Domino" in Latin America, because of its spots.
    • "Sapodilla Tom" in Belize
    • "Papa Shillingi" in Kenya - belief is that God threw shillings on the shark, which are now its spots.
    • "Marokintana" in Madagascar, which literally means "Many stars"
    • "Geger Lintang" in Indonesia, which means "Stars in the back"
  • Capable of diving to depths of over 700m (2,300 ft.).
  • Generally solitary, though seen to form groups when feeding at sites with lots of food.
  • The skin of a whale shark is marked with a "checkerboard" of pale yellow spots and stripes.  These spots are unique to each whale shark and because of this they can be used to identify  each animal and hence make an accurate population count.  The skin can be upto 10cm thick!
  • Unlike most other fish, the whale shark uses its entire body for swimming, owing to which it can manage only about 5 kmph (3.1 mph).
  • It feeds on phytoplankton, macro-algae, plankton, krill and small nektonic life, such as small squid or vertebrates. The 300-350 rows of tiny teeth it has play no role in feeding.
  • Despite its enormous size, it is quite gentle and can be playful with divers.
  • The population is unknown and the species is considered "vulnerable" by the IUCN. All fishing, selling, importing and exporting of whale sharks for commercial purposes has been banned in the Philippines since 1998, India in May 2001, followed by Taiwan in May 2007.