The basking SHARK (Cetorhinus maximus)
There is evidence that specimens of up to 15 metres in length, however, evidence of the existence of such giants among scientists yet. At the same time, instances caught a giant shark, whose length would not exceed three meters, very rarely come across.
The habitat of this fish are warm-temperate waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The body shape of a giant shark similar to a cigar, and the color of her skin varies from dark grey to black, occasionally there are instances of brown. The belly is colored slightly lighter than back and sides. The snout of these fish are made far in advance, and in young individuals even forms something like a short trunk. This fact misled the first researchers who distinguished two subspecies of giant sharks. However, later it was found that with age, the trunk disappears.
The body of a giant shark
With both sides of the head are Gill slits, the size of which is unique among other fish species. From the mouth of each Gill arch has from 1000 to 1300 small horn stamens, which are used for water filtration. The basking shark feeds exclusively on plankton, so she and teeth compared to body size, microscopic. Arranged in 5-7 rows, and not exceeding a height of 5 mm, they are more like a small grater, than on the teeth.
Gills basking sharks
Almost a quarter of the body mass of the giant shark is the liver located in the rear of the body. It serves as a kind of float, not allowing the body to sink. The front part of the body afloat support two massive pectoral fin, and controls the direction of movement of the fish with a symmetrical caudal fin, the upper part of which is much more lower.
The back of the torso of a giant shark
As already mentioned, the only thing that is consumed by a giant shark, is a plankton. To eat, fish very slowly, at a speed of 3.5 km/h, combs upper layers of the water, jaws wide and gaping. For an hour, the shark passes through their gills from 1500 to 2000 cubic meters of water, and the filtered plankton goes into the stomach.
Most often these giant fish can be found in the spring and summer when they are in groups or alone consume the plankton at the ocean surface. Remarkably, the number of females ten times more than the number of men. About reproduction of this species little is known. It is assumed that mating occurs in the spring, and then females go to a depth where already give birth to fully formed young.
In the recent past, basking sharks were the object of intensive fishing, mainly because of the liver, the content of fish oil reaches 60%. With one individual received 500-800 liters of fat, which is very highly prized due to the high content of vitamins.