Average lifespan: from 20 to 100 years
Size: Some specimens surpass 9 or even 10 metres (33 ft)
Weight: average of 8580 pounds
Did you know?
The Basking shark is the second largest living shark, after the whale shark.
This shark is called the basking shark because it is most often observed when feeding at the surface and appears to be basking. It is the only member of the family Cetorhinidae. The genus name Cetorhinus comes from the Greek, ketos which means marine monster or whale and rhinos meaning nose, the species name maximus is from Latin and means "greatest".
Basking Shark video.
What does a Basking Shark look like?
Aside from their large size, Basking Sharks are characterised by their lunate tail, very large mouth, pointed nose and five huge gill slits which almost encircle the head. Other key identifying features are the strong lateral keels on the caudal peduncle (where the tail joins the body) the bristle-like gillrakers and rows of hundreds of minute teeth that fill the mouth. The mouth can be well over 1 metre wide in adult sharks. Basking Sharks are typically grayish brown but can range through to slate grey or black on the dorsal surface. Irregular patches, patterns and streaks mark the animals flanks and fins while the ventral (underside) of Basking Sharks are predominantly lighter than the dorsal.
Where does the Basking Shark live?
The basking shark is a coastal-pelagic shark found worldwide in boreal to warm-temperate waters around the continental shelves. It has traditionally been observed in waters between 8 and 14° C (46 and 57° F) but recently they have been confirmed to cross the equator. It is often seen close to land and will enter enclosed bays. The shark will follow concentrations of plankton in the water column and is therefore often visible on the surface. They are a highly migratory species leading to seasonal appearances in certain areas of the range. The basking shark is found from the surface down to at least 910 metres (3,000 ft).
What is the size of a Basking Shark?
The basking shark is one of the largest known sharks, second only to the whale shark. The largest specimen accurately measured was trapped in a herring net in the Bay of Fundy, Canada in 1851. Its total length was 12.27 metres (40.3 ft), and it weighed an estimated 19 tons.
What does a Basking Shark eat?
The basking shark is a passive filter feeder, filtering zooplankton, small fish and invertebrates from up to 2,000 tons of water per hour. The Basking Shark may be unique, however, as the only one that feeds entirely passively by swimming through water with its mouth open rather than actively sucking in water for filtering.
Basking Sharks have, on average, around half a tonne of food material present in their stomach.
How fast is a Basking Shark?
Basking Sharks ordinarily cruise at around 2.5 to 4 mph however they are sometimes seen leaping completely out of the water and must be capable of reaching much faster speeds to be able to do so.
Basking Shark images
Basking Shark Wallpapers
Download free Basking Shark wallpapers, click on the image to open the large version.
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Basking Shark Coloring pages
Print free Basking Shark coloring pages, click on the image to open the large version.