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how long is a basking shark
6 – 8 m
how big is a basking sharks mouth
The mouth of a basking shark is very recognizable. Their mouths are tremendously large;
they can be well over 3 ft (1 m) in width! With a shark this size, one would probably expect them to have long, pointy teeth similar to those of a great white or tiger shark.
how large is a basking shark
how long does a basking shark live
how long can a basking shark get
how long do basking sharks live
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The giant fish hasn’t been seen there in 80 years. Looking like something out of the time of the dinosaurs.
a huge fish that’s known as a basking shark was pulled up by fishermen off Australia this week, the first time the species has been caught there in 80 years.
This slow-moving migratory shark is the second largest fish, growing as long as 40 feet and weighing over 5 tons.
It is often sighted swimming close to the surface, huge mouth open, filtering 2,000 tons of seawater per hour over its complicated gills to scoop up zooplankton.
Basking sharks are passive and no danger to humans in general, but they are large animals and their skin is extremely rough, so caution is urged during any encounters.
English language common names include basking shark, bone shark, elephant shark, hoe-mother, shark, and sun-fish. Other names are albafar (Portuguese), an liamhán gréine (Irish), beinhákarl (Icelandic), brugd (Swedish), brugda (Faroese), brugde (Danish), büyük camgöz.
(Turkish), büyükcamgöz baligi (Turkish), cação-peregrino-argentino (Portuguese), colayo (Spanish), dlugoszpar a. rekin gigantyczny (Polish), éléphant de mer (French), frade (Portuguese).
gabdoll (Maltese), gobdoll (Maltese), jättiläishai (Finnish), kalb (Arabic), karish anak (Hebrew), koesterhaai (Afrikaans), k’wet’thenéchte (Salish), mandelhai (German), marrajo ballenato (Spanish).
marrajo gigante (Spanish), peixe frade (Portuguese), peixe-carago (Portuguese), peixe-frade (Portuguese), peje vaca (Spanish), pèlerin (French), peregrino (Spanish).
peshkagen shtegtar (Albanian), pez elefante (Spanish), pixxitonnu (Maltese), poisson à voiles (French), relengueiro (Portuguese), requin (French), requin pèlerin (French).
reremai (Maori, reuzenhaai (Dutch), riesenhai (German).
sapounas (Greek), squale géant (French), squale pèlerin (French), squalo elefante (Italian), tiburón canasta (Spanish), tiburón peregrino (Spanish), tubarão frade (Portuguese), and ubazame (Japanese).
Importance to Humans
In the past, basking sharks were hunted worldwide for their oil.
meat, fins, and vitamin rich livers. Today, most fishing has ceased except in China and Japan.
The fins are sold as the base ingredient for shark fin soup. A “wet” or fresh pair of fins can fetch up to $1,000 in Asian fish markets while dried-processed fins generally sell for $350 per pound.
The liver is sold in Japan as an aphrodisiac, a health food, and its oil as a lubricant for cosmetics.
From a 4-ton (3629 kg), 27 feet (8.2 m) basking shark, a fisherman will get 1 ton of meat and 100 gallons (380 liters) of oil.
Interestingly, many tales of sea serpents and monsters have originated from sightings of basking sharks cruising single file, snout to tail, near the surface of the water.
More recently, the basking shark has sparked an interest in eco-tourism operations.
As with other sharks, basking sharks are vulnerable to overfishing for several reasons.
They have a lengthy maturation time, slow growth rate and a long gestation period.
- 1993 – It was reported that the global population of basking sharks had dropped by 80% since the 1950’s.
- 1995 – A Barcelona Convention Protocol added the basking shark to its list of Threatened Species.
- 1997 – The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service banned the fishing for basking sharks in US Federal Atlantic waters.
- April 1998 – The British Government announced a movement to protect the basking shark in UK waters, under Appendix II of CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of flora and fauna).
The basking shark is a coastal-pelagic species found throughout the world’s arctic and temperate waters.
In the western Atlantic, it ranges from Newfoundland to Florida and southern Brazil to Argentina.
and from Iceland and Norway to Senegal, including the parts of the Mediterranean in the eastern Atlantic.
and from Ecuador to Chile in the eastern Pacific.
1. Head is nearly encircled with large gill slits
2. Snout is bulbous and conical
3. Mouth is large and subterminal with small hooked teeth
4. Caudal fin lunate with a single keel on the caudal peduncle
The basking shark is one of the most recognizable of all sharks.
Its massiveness, extended gill slits that nearly encircle the head and lunate caudal fin together help distinguish it from all other species.
It possesses a conical snout and numerous large gill rakers modified for filter feeding.
Its enormous mouth extends past the small eyes and contains many small, hooked teeth.
The basking shark has a very large liver that accounts for up to 25% of its body weight.
The liver is high in squalene, a low-density hydrocarbon that helps give the shark near-neutral buoyancy.
Occasionally known as “sunfish” or “sailfish” in certain areas of the world, the basking shark is the only member of the family Cetorhinidae.
It was first described by Gunnerus in 1765 from a specimen from Norway and was originally assigned the name Squalus maximus.
Synonymous names include Squalus isodus Macri 1819, Squalus elephasLesueur 1822.
Squalus rashleighanus Couch 1838, Sqalus cetaceus Gronow 1854, Cetorhinus blainvillei Capello 1869.
Selachus pennantii Cornish 1885.
Cetorhinus maximus infanuncula Deinse & Adriani 1953 and Cetorhinus maximus normani Siccardi 1961).
The currently accepted scientific name is Cetorhinus maximus as assigned by Gunnerus in 1765.