Whale sharks are filter feeding sharks that glide slowly in sea water. It is the largest existing fish species in the whole world.
A confirmed one has a length of over 40 feet long (12 meters) weighing more than 20 tonnes (or 47,000 lbs.). Much bigger and longer ones are also being reported to exist in different places.
Whale sharks are known to be record holders of being the most or by far the largest extant non-mammal vertebrate animal. It means that whale sharks rival most of the extinct large dinosaurs in terms of weight. These species are believed to have originated about 60 million years ago (Wikipedia.com).
Whale Sharks’ Food
Whale sharks are commonly found in tropical warm and open sea waters. They feed on plankton and small sea food, like krills (small type of shrimps). Their huge mouths are used to engulf huge amount of water and filter the microscopic animals, plants and plankton.
Some documentary footages show (Cebu) whale sharks filter feeding on the clouds of eggs and sperms of other fish species.
Click here for my personal encounter with whale sharks!
Cebu whale sharks (and all whale sharks alike) are known to survive and live only in tropical and temperate oceans. Warmer sea waters provide them abundant food, which is usually abundant and produced from coral reefs where most smaller fishes spawn.
During their seasonal feeding aggregation, whale sharks can be easily found at various tropical coastal sites. While they are often seen offshore, whale sharks can also be found near land areas where there are lagoons, coral atolls, mouths of estuaries and rivers.
Such behaviours put themselves into danger of being harpooned for their huge amount of meat that can feed a whole village for days. However, in Asia, they are hunted by poachers who are only interested in their expensive fins (for a shark fins soup delicacy).
The well-known coastal areas worldwide where they frequently aggregate include…
Yes, these gentle giants can be found almost everywhere around the world. However, they are endangered too not because they are dying out but because unscrupulous humans hunt them for their expensive fins.
This site supports any effort to prevent these gentle fishes from their eventual extinction.
Being a filter feeder, whale sharks only feed on small size food which sounds ridiculous compared with their body size and mouth capable of swallowing much bigger animals including human beings. Luckily they are created to eat only smaller creatures.
(Cebu) Whale sharks are known to feed on macro-algae, plankton, krill, Christmas Island red crab larvae, and small squid and other vertebrates. As already mentioned, they also feed on small fish and the clouds of eggs and sperm during mass spawning of fish shoals (Wikipedia.com).
Whale Shark's Amazing Record
(Cebu) Whale sharks reach sexual maturity at around 30 years and can live up to 70 or up to 100 years.
The IUCN considered this species as vulnerable animals since they are targeted by commercial fishers in various areas where they seasonally group together.
Their highly-priced fins are considered ridiculous since they don’t really taste delicious but only thought to be consumed as health food.
Whale sharks very much contribute to the biodiversity of the ocean and all the life forms that live in it. Therefore, these gentle giant fish should be conserved and protected from any form of harm and eventual extinction.
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Hope you enjoyed this page.
But, before you move on you may watch this amazing video on whale sharks with divers overwhelmed...
Other pages you might love to check out...
Oslob, Cebu whale shark. This page introduces you to Cebu's popular whale shark watching area in the Province. It also tells you how the fishermen of this area take care and protect them from scrupulous Cebu whale sharks poachers.
Cebu Sea Turtles. Yes, these sea turtles are also great attractions to visitors on the island. You can also swim with them underwater. Just like in the case of whale sharks, Cebu sea turtles are also endangered since many locals catch them for food, a pricey delicacy which is thought to give you better health and longer life.
Cebu Thresher Sharks. If you are more of an adventurer and a professional diver, you can watch thresher sharks in Cebu by visiting some popular islands including Malapascua or Bantayan island, where you can encounter them.
Have fun with your holidays and enjoy watching whale sharks.