Creature Feature – Basking Shark
This week’s featured creature is the Basking Shark. This shark species is the second largest fish in our oceans – with the whale shark being the first.
However, they are gentle giants, feeding zooplankton which they filter out of the water at a leisurely pace. They can be easily identified by the large, dark, triangular dorsal fin moving slowly through the water.
Basking Shark Fact File
Size: Individuals measure between 7-12m long and can weigh up to 6 tonnes
Distribution: They are coastal-pelagic (open ocean) and can be found worldwide, close to shorelines or in brackish waters
Diet: This species consumes zooplankton (a collection of small organisms) very small fish, and invertebrates from the water using its large mouth and gill slits to filter out organisms from the water
Behaviour: These sharks are usually solitary but during summer months in particular they gather around dense patches of zooplankton. Little is known about there behaviour, including reproduction and migration
IUCN Status: Endangered. Top threats include bycatch and entanglement in fishing lines and collisions with commercial and recreational boats