Basking Shark

Basking Shark

Basking Shark – Cetorhinus maximus

Facts about Basking Sharks

This particular shark is found in locations throughout the world. They prefer to live in warmer water temperatures though. They can be found close to land so people do see them on a regular basis in Hawaii and other areas. Where you will see them depends on the time of the year. They migrate both for reproduction and to be able to take advantage of the warmer climates at various times of the year.

Facts about Basking Sharks

The basking shark gets its name due to being slow moving and enjoying time basking in the sun. It is strange to researchers to see such a large shark so close to the surface though. The basking shark is the second largest shark found in the world. They do move to deeper water in the winter months though.

Sometimes the basking shark is seen jumping out of the water. It is an amazing sight to see due to the sheer size of them. Researchers believe this is done in an effort to remove as many parasites from the body as possible.

It has an extremely large liver, bigger than most species of sharks. The liver is believed to be ¼ of the overall body weight. This liver not only stores oil to help reduce the need to feed but it allows the basking shark to have plenty of energy all the time.

They are one of the few species of sharks that form groups as most sharks are loners. The group may only have a few members or it can have up to 100. The larger sized groups are very rarely found though.

Basking shark information

Basking shark / Photo taken by Chris Gotschalk

Food Basking Sharks Eat

In addition to basking in the sun, this shark also tends to feed close to the surface as well. They are referred to as a filter feeder which means they move along the water with their mouth open. Their body filters out the water and they are able to consume what they find in it. A great deal of cleaning up the waters is taken care of by the basking shark in this manner. Various types of debris are completely eliminated from it when they are present.

Anatomy of Basking Sharks

Basking sharks are very big indeed. They can end up being up to 5.2 tonnes and 30 feet long. Even so, the design of their body allows them to easily get around in the water. They are very similar in style to the great white so many people panic when they see them. There are some significant differences though to tell them apart.

First, the basking shark has an extremely wide jaw. They also have large gill slits found at the back of their head. They also have small eyes while they great white has huge eyes. The basking shark also has as distinct nose that has a hook to it.

The skin of a basking shark is covered in placoid scales. You may notice pits and what resembles scars in it as well.

Basking Shark Facts

Amazing Basking Shark / Photo taken by Greg Skomal, NOAA

Reproduction of Basking Sharks

Researchers have concluded that only the right ovary of the female basking sharks allow for reproduction. This is a characteristic that hasn’t been discovered in any other species of shark. The females seek out shallow water in a warm area in order to give birth. They may migrate in order to achieve this.

What is the Future going to be like for the Basking Shark?

Conservation status: Vulnerable

The future is quite grim at the point for the basking shark. It is on the brink of extinction at this time. They have been hunted fiercely to keep up with the demand out there in the market for various products. They also have been known to be eaten by the aggressive tiger shark. As a result the basking shark is protected from hunting in certain locations.