Product plant prey for whales, sea animals, seafood and crustaceans
These sharks are recognizable not just for being the largest fish in the sea, growing longer than 40 feet, but also for their unique pattern of blue-gray to brown coloration with white spots centered between pale horizontal and vertical stripes. They are filter feeders, often swimming near the surface of the open sea, gulping in water and filtering everything from plankton and fish eggs, to crustaceans and schooling fish, to occasional larger prey like squid or tuna. Despite their size, they are considered harmless to humans, and will often interact docilely with divers to the extent of allowing the divers to grab on to a fin and hitch a ride. Whale shark , basking shark, and whaleshark are common names in the English language used to refer to this fish.VIDEO ON THE TOPIC: 11 Scariest Ocean Predators
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These sharks are recognizable not just for being the largest fish in the sea, growing longer than 40 feet, but also for their unique pattern of blue-gray to brown coloration with white spots centered between pale horizontal and vertical stripes. They are filter feeders, often swimming near the surface of the open sea, gulping in water and filtering everything from plankton and fish eggs, to crustaceans and schooling fish, to occasional larger prey like squid or tuna.
Despite their size, they are considered harmless to humans, and will often interact docilely with divers to the extent of allowing the divers to grab on to a fin and hitch a ride. Whale shark , basking shark, and whaleshark are common names in the English language used to refer to this fish.
In the past, the whale shark has been of little interest to man. At present, commercial fisheries for whale sharks are limited, but may expand from an increased demand for food products.
In Taiwan approximately whale sharks are taken annually. The whale shark meat fetches a high price in this country, and this fact has stimulated larger harvests over the last years. Fishing for this shark also occurs in the Philippines, particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao areas, providing food for the local fishing communities.
Whale shark fins are sold in Asia, especially in the Hong Kong. Occasionally whale sharks are captured accidentally along the coast of India. Sometimes the flesh is eaten and the liver oil is utilized for waterproofing wooden fishing boats and other appliances, for the manufacture of shoe polish and as a treatment for some skin diseases. The processing of whale shark fins has also been reported in India.
Often the whale shark is used as an indicator of waters rich in plankton-feeding fish that will, in turn, attract more valuable species such as tuna. Whale sharks have been kept in aquaria in Japan, but their large size and specialized diet precludes this species from being mainstream aquarium species. In a few locations where the presence of whale sharks appears to be predictable, they are increasingly targeted by commercial tourist operations. Generally considered harmless.
However, there have been a few cases of whale sharks butting sportfishing boats, possibly after being provoked. Usually the sharks are more at risk from being struck accidentally by vessels whilst basking or feeding on the surface. Some biological characteristics, such as large size, slow growth, late maturation and extended longevity, probably limit recruitment and make whale sharks susceptible to over-exploitation.
These characteristics also suggest that populations are slow to recover from any over-fishing. The whale shark is listed by the AFS American Fisheries Society as conservation dependent reduced but stabilized or recovering under a continuing conservation plan in both the U.
Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. However, it is considered not at risk in the Gulf of California. In the Maldives and Philippines there is legislation banning all fishing for whale sharks. This protection was introduced because of the possible serious impact that the fishery may be making on whale shark stocks. The predictable occurrence of whale sharks in a few localities, such as in Western Australia, has led to the development of an expanding tourism industry.
In this area the whale shark is a protected species and its tourism has been managed through a system of controls, including the licensing of a limited number of operators tours. In addition, there have been calls from conservation-minded divers worldwide to refrain from riding, chasing, or in any way harassing any large marine animals, including whale sharks.
However, the natural variability in whale shark abundance and distribution, the reasons for aggregations at some areas, and the carrying capacity of the industry are still unknown. Consequently, evidence of any impact is difficult to obtain and interpret.
The whale shark has a very widespread distribution, occurring in all tropical and warm temperate seas, except in the Mediterranean. In contrast to most sharks from the same order Orectolobiformes , which are benthic live on or near the bottom species, the whale shark is a pelagic open sea species.
It is often seen offshore but commonly comes close inshore, sometimes entering lagoons or coral atolls. The whale shark is thought to be highly migratory but currently there is no direct evidence to support this hypothesis. Their movements might be related to local productivity and they are often associated with schools of pelagic fish that are probably feeding on the same prey organisms. Different geographic locations appear to be preferred at various times of the year. Whale sharks alternatively may undertake either fairly localized or large-scale transoceanic migrations, the movements governed by the timing and location of production pulses and possibly by breeding behavior.
Seasonal migrations have been postulated for various areas but more information is needed to confirm these patterns. Each March and April, whale sharks are known to be aggregate on the continental shelf of the central western coast of Australia, particularly in the Ningaloo Reef area. A study was done in this area to provide information on the short-term movements and behavior of this species of shark.
Whale sharks are thought to migrate to Ningaloo Reef each year to take advantage of the high zooplankton microscopic animals concentrations associated with large-scale coral spawning events occurring during the March and April full moons. A few whale sharks were tracked and some behavioral observations were made while snorkeling in the area. The reaction of the sharks to snorkellers varied between ignoring them to slowly diving. At times when water was flowing out from the reef lagoon, possibly transporting potential prey outside the reef, the tracked sharks swam in large circles adjacent to passes in the reef.
The whale sharks also made numerous dives throughout the observation period. It appears that these movements, up and down through the water column, were associated with feeding. Whale sharks have smaller livers than most sharks and could conceivably control their buoyancy by swallowing some air as do the sand tiger sharks Ondontaspis taurus. Whale sharks were also observed near La Paz, Mexico. Researchers reported that when these sharks were not feeding at the surface, they swam practically without the head turning, gulping, and rhythmical opening and closing of the gill slits, seen during feeding behavior.
The mouth was held slightly open, and the skin over the gill openings was quivering as water flowed steadily out the gill slits in the typical ventilation of pelagic sharks. Generally, whale sharks are encountered singly but loose aggregations of over animals have been seen, which suggests that schooling activity does occur. Scientists do not know whether sexual segregation, either locally or geographically, occurs.
Distinctive Features A streamlined body and a depressed, broad, and flattened head characterize the whale shark. The mouth is transverse, very large and nearly at the tip of the snout. Gill slits are very large, modified internally into filtering screens. The first dorsal fin is much larger than the second dorsal fin, and set rearward on body. The two lobed caudal fin tail is semi-lunate in adults; in small juveniles the upper lobe is considerably longer than the lower lobe.
Coloration Whale sharks are grayish, bluish or brownish above, with an upper surface pattern of creamy white spots between pale, vertical and horizontal stripes. The belly is white. The function of the distinctive pattern of body mark is unknown. Many bottom-dwelling sharks have bold and disruptive body markings that act as camouflage through disruptive coloration. Distinctive markings in a pelagic species could be linked to social activities such as postural displays and recognition processes.
Another possibility is that these pigment patterns could be an adaptation for radiation shielding, important in a species that may spend a significant proportion of time in surface waters possibly exposed to high levels of ultraviolet radiation. Dentition Teeth minute, about rows in each jaw. An individual tooth has a single, hooked cusp. Teeth appear to play no role in feeding. Dermal Denticles The whale shark has unique denticles tooth-like scales structures , each with an extremely strong central keel, no lateral keels, and a tri-lobed rear margin.
It would appear that the denticles are hydrodynamically important in its pelagic lifestyle. Maximum size is thought to be 20m. The smallest free-living individuals are from 55cm Sexual maturity in both sexes may not occur until the sharks are over 9m in length. Age estimates for whale sharks are as high as 60 years, but no one really knows how long this species lives.
Food Habits Whale sharks feed on wide variety of planktonic microscopic and nektonic larger free-swimming prey, such as small crustaceans, schooling fishes, and occasionally on tuna and squids. Also, phytoplankton microscopic plants and macroalgae larger plants may form a component of the diet.
Unlike most plankton feeding vertebrates, the whale shark does not depend on slow forward motion to operate its filtration mechanism. Rather, it relies on a versatile suction filter-feeding method, which enables it to draw water into the mouth at higher velocities than these dynamic filter-feeders, like the basking shark.
This enables the whale shark to capture larger more active nektonic prey as well as zooplankton aggregations. Therefore, the whale shark may be more dependent on dense aggregations of prey organisms. The denser filter screens of this shark act as more efficient filters for short suction intakes, in contrast to the flow through systems of basking shark.
Whale sharks are always seen feeding passively in a vertical or near vertical position with the head at or near the surface. The whale shark feeds actively by opening its mouth, distending the jaws and sucking. Than it closes its mouth and the water flow out its gills. During the slight delay between closing the mouth and opening the gill flaps, plankton may be trapped against the dermal denticles lining the gill plates and pharynx. The fine sieve-like apparatus, a unique modification of the gill rakers, forms an obstruction to the passage of anything but fluid, retaining all organisms above 2 to 3mm in diameter.
Practically nothing but water goes through this sieve. Individuals have also been observed coughing, a mechanism that is thought to be employed to clear or flush the gill rakers of accumulated food particles. Whale sharks move their heads from side to side, vacuuming in seawater rich in plankton, or aggressively cut swathes through schools of prey.
Groups of individuals have been observed feeding at dusk or after dark. The density of plankton probably is sensed by the well-developed nostrils, located on either side of the upper jaw, on the leading edge of the terminal mouth.
The frequent turns may keep the whale sharks in the denser parts of the plankton patches, searching and scanning when an olfactory cue weakens on one side or the other. Because of this, vision may play a much smaller role than olfaction in directing the head turns during surface feeding.
One live whale shark pup removed from its dead mother was maintained in captivity in Japan. It did not eat for the first 17 days, even though it swam constantly. This suggests that the pup had substantial stores of endogenous stored energy. Reproduction Historically, there was great scientific debate about the mode of development of whale sharks. Finally in , an meter female whale shark was harpooned off the eastern coast of Taiwan and fetal specimens, ranging in length from 42 to 63cm, were taken from the two uteri.
This discovery proved that the species is a live bearer, with an ovoviviparous mode of development. The egg-capsules of this whale shark were amber colored, with a smooth texture, and possessed a respiratory fissure opening on each side.
What do whales eat for dinner?
All rights reserved. This black-footed albatross dines on plastic garbage in the Hawaiian Leeward Islands. And now scientists know why. As the oceans fill with plastic debris , hundreds of marine species eat astonishing amounts of it. Yet the question of why so many species, from the tiniest zooplankton to whales, mistake so much of it for food has never been fully explored.
Plankton are the numerous, primarily microscopic inhabitants of the pelagic environment see Figure 3. They are critical components of food chains in all marine environments see Figure 1 in the article on community ecology because they provide nutrition for the nekton e. Not all plankton, however, are unable to control their movements, and many forms depend on self-directed motions for their survival. Plankton range in size from tiny microbes 1 micrometre [0.
Scientists consider whether krill need to be protected from human over-hunting
Seafood is any form of sea life regarded as food by humans, prominently including fish and shellfish. Shellfish include various species of molluscs e. Historically, marine mammals such as cetaceans whales and dolphins as well as seals have been eaten as food, though that happens to a lesser extent in modern times. Edible sea plants such as some seaweeds and microalgae are widely eaten as sea vegetables around the world, especially in Asia. In the United States, although not generally in the United Kingdom, the term "seafood" is extended to fresh water organisms eaten by humans, so all edible aquatic life may be referred to as "seafood". The harvesting of wild seafood is usually known as fishing or hunting , while the cultivation and farming of seafood is known as aquaculture or fish farming in the case of fish. Seafood is often colloquially distinguished from meat , although it is still animal in nature and is excluded from a vegetarian diet, as decided by groups like the Vegetarian Society after confusion surrounding pescetarianism. Seafood is an important source of animal protein in many diets around the world, especially in coastal areas. Most of the seafood harvest is consumed by humans, but a significant proportion is used as fish food to farm other fish or rear farm animals.
The Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals , Third Edition covers the ecology, behavior, conservation, evolution, form and function of whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, manatees, dugongs, otters and polar bears. This edition provides new content on anthropogenic concerns, latest information on emerging threats such as ocean noise, and impacts of climate change. With authors and editors who are world experts, this new edition is a critical resource for all who are interested in marine mammals, especially upper level undergraduate and graduate students, researchers, and managers, and is a top reference for those in related fields, from oceanographers to environmental scientists. His specialties are behavior and social strategies, especially as related to human disturbance.
Introduction to Marine Biology. Cengage Learning , 26 thg 4, - trang. Taking an ecological approach and intended for non-science majors, the text provides succinct coverage of the content while the photos and art clearly illustrate key concepts. Studying is made easy with phonetic pronunciations, a running glossary of key terms, end-of-chapter questions, and suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter.
35 Utterly Weird Sea Animals
Sharks play a very important role in the oceans in a way that an average fish does not. Sharks are at the top of the food chain in virtually every part of every ocean. In that role, they keep populations of other fish healthy and in proper proportion for their ecosystem.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Sea Monsters Size Comparison
Jump to navigation. Many species that live in the open ocean or pelagic realm truly live in an ocean universe. They spend their entire lives surrounded by water on all sides and do not know that anything else even exists. In the case of the deep open ocean, organisms never even see sunlight. As land mammals that breathe air, walk on land, and rely on our sense of sight for almost all functions, it is difficult for people even experts to comprehend that most of the organisms on the planet are never exposed to air, land, or sunlight.
Skip to content. Barely longer than your thumb, weighing less than an ounce and nearly translucent, delicate crustaceans known as krill are vital to ocean ecosystems around the world. The health of these Southern Ocean species depends heavily on healthy krill populations. But Antarctic krill are also increasingly sought after as a source of food for farmed seafood, livestock and poultry. Since the world catch of Antarctic krill has grown by about 40 percent. While tiny, krill are considered one of the most abundant species in the world; their combined biomass is estimated to exceed that of all the people on the planet.
Mongabay Series: Oceans , Sea Change. Blue whales in the northern Pacific Ocean use their memories to guide them to the best feeding spots, instead of seeking out the locations of shorter-term surges in prey, a new study has found. Warmer seas resulting from climate change could pull krill, a shrimp-like crustacean that makes up the bulk of their diet, beyond the catalog of their experience. Blue whales typically head north in the spring to feed, leaving their summering grounds in the Gulf of California or off the coast of Costa Rica, to reach the more productive waters of the California Current and the Gulf of Alaska. They then compared the locations of these whales with concentrations of a compound called chlorophyll- a captured on satellite imagery.
Its name makes it sound like a piece of sexy lingerie , but don't be fooled: The pink see-through fantasia is a sea cucumber, found about a mile and a half deep in the Celebes Sea in the western Pacific east of Borneo. The frilled shark is one of the gnarliest looking creatures in the sea. If it looks like an ancient beast that's because it kind of is; Mental Floss reports that frilled sharks "have changed so little since prehistoric times. Found in the Celebes Sea, this worm is, well
All rights reserved. Some , marine species are known to science—about 15 percent of all the species identified on the planet. But the sea is so vast that a million or more as yet unknown species may live in its waters.
Tool-use research has focused primarily on land-based animals, with less consideration given to aquatic animals and the environmental challenges and conditions they face. Here, we review aquatic tool use and examine the contributing ecological, physiological, cognitive and social factors. Tool use among aquatic animals is rare but taxonomically diverse, occurring in fish, cephalopods, mammals, crabs, urchins and possibly gastropods. While additional research is required, the scarcity of tool use can likely be attributable to the characteristics of aquatic habitats, which are generally not conducive to tool use. Nonetheless, studying tool use by aquatic animals provides insights into the conditions that promote and inhibit tool-use behaviour across biomes.
Marine regions are usually very salty! There is about one cup of salt per gallon of water in the ocean. The ocean is divided up into three vertical zones. The top layer is called the euphotic zone and it is the area of the ocean where light can penetrate. The next layer is the disphotic zone. This area is too deep for lots of light to reach.
It provides a treasured source of recreation for humans. It is mined for minerals salt, sand, gravel, and some manganese, copper, nickel, iron, and cobalt can be found in the deep sea and drilled for crude oil. Oil Rig off Santa Barbara. The ocean plays a critical role in removing carbon from the atmosphere and providing oxygen.