It was one of the largest gatherings of whale sharks recorded. Associated ecotourism has grown rapidly to unsustainable levels. Pupping of whale sharks has not been observed, but mating has been witnessed twice in St Helena. The capture of a female in July that was pregnant with pups indicated that whale sharks are ovoviviparous. Evidence indicates the pups are not all born at once, but rather the female retains sperm from one mating and produces a steady stream of pups over a prolonged period.
On 7 March , marine scientists in the Philippines discovered what is believed to be the smallest living specimen of the whale shark. Based on this discovery, some scientists no longer believe this area is just a feeding ground; this site may be a birthing ground, as well. Both young whale sharks and pregnant females have been seen in the waters of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean, where numerous whale sharks can be spotted during the summer.
The whale shark is a filter feeder — one of only three known filter-feeding shark species along with the basking shark and the megamouth shark.
It feeds on plankton including copepods , krill , fish eggs , Christmas Island red crab larvae  and small nektonic life, such as small squid or fish. It also feeds on clouds of eggs during mass spawning of fish and corals. Feeding occurs either by ram filtration, in which the animal opens its mouth and swims forward, pushing water and food into the mouth, or by active suction feeding, in which the animal opens and closes its mouth, sucking in volumes of water that are then expelled through the gills.
In both cases, the filter pads serve to separate food from water. These unique, black sieve-like structures are presumed to be modified gill rakers. Food separation in whale sharks is by cross-flow filtration , in which the water travels nearly parallel to the filter pad surface, not perpendicularly through it, before passing to the outside, while denser food particles continue to the back of the throat. Whale sharks have been observed "coughing", presumably to clear a build-up of particles from the filter pads.
Whale sharks migrate to feed and possibly to breed. The whale shark is an active feeder, targeting concentrations of plankton or fish.
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It is able to ram filter feed or can gulp in a stationary position. This is in contrast to the passive feeding basking shark, which does not pump water. Instead, it swims to force water across its gills. The same documentary showed footage of a whale shark timing its arrival to coincide with the mass spawning of fish shoals and feeding on the resultant clouds of eggs and sperm.
Whale sharks are known to prey on a range of planktonic and small nektonic organisms that are spatiotemporally patchy. These include krill, crab larvae, jellyfish, sardines, anchovies, mackerels, small tunas, and squid. In ram filter feeding, the fish swims forward at constant speed with its mouth fully open, straining prey particles from the water by forward propulsion. Despite its size, the whale shark does not pose any danger to humans. Whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to catch a ride,    although this practice is discouraged by shark scientists and conservationists because of the disturbance to the sharks.
Underwater photographers such as Fiona Ayerst have photographed them swimming close to humans without any danger. There is currently no robust estimate of the global whale shark population. The species is considered endangered by the IUCN due to the impacts of fisheries, by-catch losses, and vessel strikes, combined with its long lifespan and late maturation.
Sightings confirmed that the whale sharks were unable to avoid the oil slick, which was situated on the surface of the sea where the whale sharks feed for several hours at a time. No dead whale sharks were found.
Whale Watch - New England Aquarium
Hundreds of whale sharks are illegally killed every year in China for their fins, skins, and oil. The whale shark is popular in the few public aquariums that keep it, but its large size means that a very large tank is required and it has specialized feeding requirements. The first attempt at keeping whale sharks in captivity was in when an individual was kept for about four months in a netted-off natural bay in Izu , Japan. In Madagascar , whale sharks are called marokintana in Malagasy , meaning "many stars", after the appearance of the markings on the shark's back.
In the Philippines, it is called butanding and balilan. By law snorkelers must maintain a distance of four feet from the sharks and there is a fine and possible prison sentence for anyone who touches the animals. Whale sharks are also known as jinbei-zame in Japan because the markings resemble jinbei ; gurano bintang in Indonesia ; and ca ong literally "sir fish" in Vietnam.
The whale shark is also featured on the latest — edition of the Maldivian rufiyaa banknote, along with the green turtle. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Conservation status. Smith ,   .
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Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. Retrieved 12 November The South African Commercial Advertiser. Reprinted in Penrith The Generic Name Rhincodon A. Smith, Pisces : Conserved".
The Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. The Zoological Journal. Systematische Beschreibung der Plagiostomen. Berlin: Veit und Comp. Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marine megafauna. Froese, Ranier; Pauly, Daniel eds. Retrieved 17 September From Valdez, cruises to Columbia and Meares glaciers almost always cross paths with whales and porpoises doing their summer thing. Whittier is 55 miles southeast of Anchorage beyond the head of Turnagain Arm.
Valdez is at the terminus of the Richardson Highway, about miles from Anchorage and miles from Fairbanks. The endangered beluga whales of upper Cook Inlet near Anchorage follow the runs of salmon and hooligan—and are most often seen just before and after high tides in Turnagain Arm along the Seward Highway. Best bet: During big falling tides between mid-July and September, watch for belugas exiting the arm down a channel that parallels the highway between Girdwood and Bird Point Wayside.
Watch for the winking white of their backs arching from the water as they breathe sometimes difficult to distinguish from white caps. Likewise, if traveling to Hope on the northern coast of the Kenai Peninsula opposite from Anchorage, check out Hope Highway pullouts after the tide has turned. Scientists also say the belugas often work the mouths of the Susitna River beyond Knik Arm west of Anchorage and the Chickaloon River on the northern Kenai Peninsula—both remote and difficult-to-reach spots.
Beluga Point is at Mile The most productive pullouts for whale watching are where the highway runs right along the shore between Bird Point and Girdwood Mile The last 10 miles or so parallel Turnagain Arm. Whales and other marine mammals proliferate in Kachemak Bay and Lower Cook Inlet off this end-of-the-highway community, though perhaps not in the concentrations found in some other places like Resurrection Bay.
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- THE JFK ASSASSINATION DIARY; MY SEARCH FOR ANSWERS TO THE MYSTERY OF THE CENTURY.
- Whale Shark?
Regular visitors are humpback whales on their summer-long binge, and killer whales in pursuit of salmon. Both species work the rich coastline on the southern shore of the bay, from Halibut Cove to the Herring Islands area. Further out, where the bay opens into vast Cook Inlet with the storybook cone of Augustine Volcano shimmering on the horizon, chances increase for a rare encounter with one of the giant baleen whales. Fin whales occasionally enter the inlet, and tour operators have even reported seeing blue whales far offshore.
Along with its whales, of course, Kachemak Bay and the surrounding region are simply teeming with all kinds of marine wildlife—birds, sea otters, seals, dolphins and porpoises, sea lions. Many tour operators motor from the Homer Spit —which reaches several miles into the bay—directly to the noisy rookery on Gull Island with 20, nesting seabirds and then proceed from there to the fiords and headlands along the Kachemak Bay State Park. Whales are also regular seen by people heading out on deep-sea fishing charters for halibut and lincod. The fleet of tour operators and charter boats dock in the harbor at the end of the 4.