Today is International Whale Shark Day!
From shallow waters to the hidden depths of the ocean, whale sharks are just one of over 450 shark species found all around the world. Healthy shark populations are linked to thriving marine ecosystems.
Are you ready to swap your fear for fascination? Keep scrolling and feast your eyes on this fin-tastic photo selection!
Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are the largest species of shark, however they are not predatory. They are filter feeders, and swim with their wide mouths open, to collect plankton and small fish.
SCALLOPED HAMMERHEAD SHARK
The scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini) commonly preys on stingrays, using its famous wide head to pin stingrays against the seafloor.
During mating, male blue sharks (Prionace glauca) are often seen biting females. To withstand this aggressive courtship, the skin of females is roughly three times thicker than that of males.
GREAT WHITE SHARK
Unlike most shark species, great whites (Carcharodon carcharias) are warm-blooded, which allows them to move faster when hunting prey.
BLACKTIP REEF SHARK
Blacktip reef sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) are one of the few sharks that work together to catch prey. When they find a school of fish, they collaborate to circle their prey into a tight ball before attacking.
CARIBBEAN REEF SHARK
All sharks have a unique “sixth sense” which allows them to detect electrical fields generated by other animals. Caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) are particularly well-adapted to detect the low frequency sounds emitted by struggling or injured fish.
SHORTFIN MAKO SHARK
The shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) is known for its remarkable ability to leap out of the water, and has been seen jumping as high as nine metres!
These sharks are often seen “basking” on the surface of the water, hence their name. However, they're not actually soaking up the sun, but feeding on clouds of plankton.
The nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) is a nocturnal fish that rests on the seafloor of shallow, warmer waters during the day. They're often found in groups, lying on top of each other.
GREY NURSE SHARK
Female sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus) usually give birth to two pups - one from each uterus. However, this miracle of life is more of a feeding frenzy. As the offspring grow larger, the strongest embryo in each womb kills and eats its sibling!