PART 2: BIOLOGY & ECOLOGY Outline 1. Taxonomy and Classification What type of animal is a it? 2. Distribution and Habitat Where do they live? 3. Anatomy and Physiology How do their bodies work?
PART 2: BIOLOGY & ECOLOGY Outline 4. Feeding and Diet What and how do they eat? 5. Reproduction and Life cycle How do they reproduce? 6. Predators Which animals prey on whale sharks?
It has a skeleton made from cartilage Lighter and more flexible than bone It’s skin is covered in dermal denticles Tough, parasite repellent and hydro- dynamic It has several rows of replaceable teeth Teeth always sharp The whale shark is a true shark: 2.1 TAXONOMY & CLASSIFICATION True Sharks
These features have made sharks successful animals Appeared 220 million years before the dinosaurs 440 different species of shark Can exist in many different habitats- even fresh water! 2.1 TAXONOMY & CLASSIFICATION Shark Success Bull sharks and river sharks happy in fresh water rivers Smallest is lantern shark just 17 cm long A primitive six-gilled frilled shark
2.3 ANATOMY & PHISIOLOGY 12.85m largest measured WS.(Prob up to 18m) Whale shark skin is 2mm thick covered with denticles Thick (10-15cm) fatty layer under the skin Spot pattern is believed to be unique to each shark and is used to identify individuals
2.3. ANATOMY & PHISIOLOGY: Gills The gills of whale sharks function to extract oxygen and to filter prey from seawater.
2.3. ANATOMY & PHISIOLOGY: Other Whale Shark senses Hearing: Largest inner-ear in the animal kingdom. Probably good for low frequency sounds Lateral Line and Electro-receptors: Unstudied but may have structures other sharks use to detect vibrations and electronic currents
2.4. DIET & FEEDING Prey Whale sharks feed on tiny prey (>0.5mm) including plankton, eggs and small shoaling baitfish