Biodiversity #30 – The Whale Shark

Gentlegiantraw banner

We are ending biodiversity week with probably the biggest example of the diverse species that inhabit our oceans: The Whale Shark.

To celebrate the biodiversity of Australia's marine life we're presenting some very diverse creatures from the oceans around Australia: Whale Shark

 

So named because it is as big as many whales and like many whales, a filter feeder. Indeed, the Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) holds many records for sheer size, being not only the largest extant fish species but also by far the largest living non-mammalian vertebrate, rivalling many of the largest dinosaurs in weight.

Their typical lifespan is around 70 years, but they may live over 100 years. As filter feeders they pose no danger to sensitive divers.

Being in their presence is a completely humbling experience.

They are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN and are unfortunately still targeted by commercial fisheries in certain parts of Asia.

(BTW: this one was taken diving Rhoda Wall on Christmas Island with Wet’n’Dry Adventures).