Q:

Where is the whale shark in the food chain?

A:

Quick Answer

Whale sharks live in the open ocean where they feed on plankton, schooling fishes, jellyfish, small crustaceans and squid. Whale sharks up to approximately 3 feet in length are eaten by blue marlin, blue sharks, great white sharks and killer whales.

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Full Answer

Fully grown whale sharks average 32 feet in length and are well-defended by tough, thick skin with a layer of cartilage underneath. Adults often have scars and bite marks from earlier predator attacks.

Whale sharks use different strategies for feeding according to prey density. When prey density is low, they feed by swimming forward with their mouths open, filtering the water through dermal denticles lining the gill plates and pharynx. They use the same method when prey density is high but swim faster, often in a circular pattern. At medium-prey densities, whale sharks feed actively by sucking in prey.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How big is whale shark?

    A:

    The average length of a whale shark is 18 to 32 feet long. They weigh around 20.6 tons. This incredible size makes whale sharks the largest fish in the sea.

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  • Q:

    Is a whale shark bigger than a blue whale?

    A:

    A whale shark is not bigger than a blue whale. They both, however, hold "world's largest" distinctions. The whale shark is the largest living fish, while the blue whale is the largest living animal.

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  • Q:

    Is a whale shark a mammal?

    A:

    Whale sharks are fish, not mammals. According to an article by Jennifer Kennedy on About.com, the whale sharks are the largest fish in the world. They grow as long as 65 feet and weigh up to 75,000 pounds. Female whale sharks are generally larger than males.

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  • Q:

    How much does a whale shark weigh?

    A:

    According to National Geographic, whale sharks reach weights of 42,000 pounds or more. As the largest fish in the sea, the warm-water creatures have been measured at 40 feet but potentially grow even larger.

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