Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea, and despite their name, they are not related to whales. They are the largest living species of sharks and can be found in all warm ocean waters, except for the Mediterranean Sea. They are usually solitary swimmers but can sometimes be spotted in groups if there is an abundance of food in the area.
Their flat wide mouths are filled with 300 rows of tiny teeth, whale sharks do not typically use these teeth to eat. Instead, these huge sharks feed on plankton, krill, fish eggs, and small fish. They filter this tiny prey through special filter pads which are located at the entrance to their throats.
The dark spotted patterns on their backs is believed to be unique to each whale shark, like fingerprints in humans. Whale sharks have no predators, so the pattern is believed to be used mainly as sun protection, as the sharks spend most of their time swimming slowly along the water’s surface, filtering food. We spotted this whale shark in Nosy Be, off the Northern Coast of the Island of Madagascar. Read more in our post, Whale Shark Sightings and Turquoise Waters: Scuba Diving Nosy Be, Madagascar.